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Gillingham 4 Bradford City 0 - League 1 match report

By Luke Cawdell

Gillingham rode their luck in the first half but came on strong in the second to claim victory over Bradford.

The visitors wasted some great opportunities in the opening half, including an open goal miss for Eoin Doyle, and the Gills made them pay.

Regan Charles-Cook put the Gills infront shortly after the restart, Tom Eaves scored twice and had a penalty saved while Elliot List also netted.

Regan Charles-Cook celebrates the opener Picture: Ady Kerry (5052206)
Regan Charles-Cook celebrates the opener Picture: Ady Kerry (5052206)

Darren Oldaker was handed a surprise start for the Gills while boss Steve Lovell was able to welcome back summer signings Brandon Hanlan and Regan Charles-Cook, both making a timely return from injuries.

Lovell left several players out of the squad completely, having lost patience with some of his underperfomers.

Gillingham went into the match with one win from 12 in the league but were facing a team with just one win in 11. Bradford started the day bottom of League 1.

It was the visitors who had the better of the first half, Luke O’Neill digging the Gills out of trouble twice in the opening minutes, clearing a second minute shot from Lewis O’Brien off the line and clearing the danger again after Tomas Holy failed to hold a Josh Wright cross.

Tom Eaves celebrates one of his two goals Picture: Ady Kerry
Tom Eaves celebrates one of his two goals Picture: Ady Kerry

Tom Eaves had a couple of half chances for the hosts and the returning Brandon Hanlan smashed a chance wide, but the visitors were the more dangerous.

Jack Payne was denied by Tomas Hol’s outstretched leg and moments later Bradford striker Eoin Doyle somehow missed with an open goal, clearing the cross rather than burying it in the empty net.

Former Gills captain Josh Wright had a great chance, with a free header, but put the chance straight at Holy.

David Ball did have the ball in the net, from a corner, but was flagged for offside after meeting Hope Akpan’s flick at the far post.

Darren Oldaker started his first league game of the season Picture: Ady Kerry (5052208)
Darren Oldaker started his first league game of the season Picture: Ady Kerry (5052208)

Payne smashed another good chance wide for Bradford as they finished the half somehow without a goal.

The Gills made a positive start to the second half and were rewarded with the game’s opening goal, after 48 minutes, Charles-Cook beating the visiting keeper with a curling effort from 12 yards after a jinking run towards goal.

Eaves had the chance to double the lead from the penalty spot just after the hour mark, after Luke O’Neill’s free-kick was handled in the box by Connor Wood. His shot was low but keeper Richard O’Donnell managed to get down to make the save.

Eaves made amends soon after, scoring the second goal in the 65th minute, racing onto a long clearance from Oldaker before smashing it home past O’Donnell.

Gillingham v Bradford action Picture: Ady Kerry (5052214)
Gillingham v Bradford action Picture: Ady Kerry (5052214)

List had been on for just three minutes when he struck the third, running at goal and evading the Bradford defence.

Substitute List dragged another shot wide for the Gills and then created a chance for Eaves, crossing low but the striker was denied by the woodwork, with the keeper beaten. The same combination produced another chance with four minutes left, this time Eaves heading the chance wide.

Eaves got his second in stoppage-time, heading home Barry Fuller’s cross.

Gillingham: Holy, Fuller, O'Neill, Ehmer, Zakuani, Oldaker, Bingham (Parrett 82mins), Byrne, Charles-Cook (Nasseri 74mins), Eaves, Hanlan (List 66mins). Subs not used: Hadler, Lacey, Mbo, Ogilvie.

Bradford: O’Donnell, O’Connor, Doyle (Seedorf 80mins), Apkan, Knight-Percival, Wood, Wright, Isherwood (Brunker 72mins), O’Brien, Ball (Gibson 85mins), Payne. Subs not used: Sykes-Kenworthy, Staunton, Goldthorp, Maltby.

Attendance: 4,399 (256 away)

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