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Southend United 0 Gillingham 1: Mikael Mandron goal settles pre-season friendly at Roots Hall

Mikael Mandron headed home the only goal of the game in Gillingham’s game against National League Southend.

The Essex side dominated the early stages of the match at Roots Hall before the Gills came to life, hitting the post through Scott Kashkett before his cross was nodded in by Mandron with 56 minutes played.

Mikael Mandron scored Gillingham's winner in the second half at Roots Hall, Southend
Mikael Mandron scored Gillingham's winner in the second half at Roots Hall, Southend

Gillingham had Ben Reeves back from injury for the pre-season match, which is the last for most of their senior players before the League 2 campaign kicks off at Wimbledon next Saturday.

Stuart O’Keefe remained sidelined with a knee injury but was with the squad watching on.

National League side Southend dominated the early stages, with Callum Powell a real threat for the home side with his running at the defence. They also tested the Gills from a flurry of corner kicks.

Gills centre-backs Max Ehmer and Elkan Baggott got in the way of early Southend chances and a water-break for the visitors came at a good time, allowing them to reset.

Towards the end of the half Neil Harris’ men managed to make more of an impact in the attacking third themselves, a run from David Tutonda leading to a chance for Kashkett that he poked against the upright.

Moments before that Jordan Green had seen a goalbound shot cleared by Ollie Kensdale.

That improvement continued for the Gills in the second period, although Southend maintained good levels throughout. It was certainly the kind of test Harris wanted before the season got going.

Southend will start the 2022/23 campaign a league below the Gills and under Kevin Maher and Mark Bentley - former Priestfield players - they will have high hopes of success.

But their first home pre-season game would end in victory for the Gills.

It was Kashkett’s dinked cross from the byline that left Mandron with a simple finish, nodding in from close-range to his delight. It was his first Gillingham goal since an equaliser infront of a packed Stadium of Light at Sunderland in March 2020.

It was almost two soon after for the Gills as lively front-man Green skimmed the outside of the post with a low effort.

Before the end of the game there was time for substitute Joe Gbode to head over a good chance from Olly Lee’s cross and a wild shot from Kashkett that went well over.

Gillingham: Turner, Wright, Ehmer, Baggott, Tutonda (Law 46mins), Williams, Jefferies, Kashket, Reeves (Lee 70mins), Green (Alexander 84mins), Mandron (Gbode 70mins). Subs not used: Holtam, Akehurst, MacArthur, MacDonald. Attendance: 1,278 (114 away).

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