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Swindon Town 0 Gillingham 3- match report

Cody McDonald added two more goals to his season's tally as Gills closed to within four points of the play-off places Picture: Barry Goodwin
Cody McDonald added two more goals to his season's tally as Gills closed to within four points of the play-off places Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gillingham pulled off a shock on the road by beating title-chasing Swindon Town.

Cody McDonald put the Gills ahead in the first half with a sublime back-heel.

Jake Hessenthaler doubled the lead just 30 seconds into the second half and with a minute left McDonald wrapped it up.

Victory over Gills’ historic rivals was the perfect response to a disappointing weekend home defeat.

Justin Edinburgh made two changes to his starting XI. Joe Martin came in for injured left-back Bradley Garmston while Josh Pritchard was recalled at the expense of Jermaine McGlashan.

Swindon went into the match a point off the automatic promotion places and without a home loss to Gillingham since 1982.

Saturday’s home defeat to Barnsley had left the Gills’ play-off hopes in the balance. Swindon were looking for some form after losing four of their previous seven.

The Gills made a positive start to the game and their pressing game unnerved the hosts, while there was also some decent football being played by Justin Edinburgh’s side.

McDonald had a great early chance for the Gills after Bradley Dack had won the ball near the touchline. Dack found John Marquis, who in turn picked out the Gills’ leading scorer, but he fired just wide from an angle.

Swindon began to get into their stride midway through the half but it was at that point when McDonald struck with an audacious effort. A cross from the left was deflected and the striker, with his back to goal, smashed the ball into the bottom corner with the heel of his foot.

The hosts continued to look threatening but the Gills reached half-time with their lead intact.

Swindon restarted the second half but within seconds the Gills had doubled their advantage. The visitors won the ball on the left hand side and Dack’s cross was glanced home by Hessenthaler.

Home sub Jon Obika headed a corner over after Stuart Nelson failed to claim it while Massimo Luongo’s long-range shot was deflected wide.

Doug Loft almost finished Swindon off with a stunning 25-yard effort but it curled just the wrong side of the post. Seconds later it needed a good save from keeper Wes Foderingham as Dack played a free-kick to Loft and he blasted another effort towards goal.

The closest Swindon got to pulling a goal back was when Ben Gladwin thumped a shot against the bar with three minutes left.

McDonald made it 3-0 for Edinburgh’s side on 89 minutes as Nelson’s long ball picked out the striker and he acrobatically lobbed the ball over keeper Foderingham.

Gillingham: Nelson, Hoyte, Martin, Egan, Ehmer, Hessenthaler, Loft, Pritchard, Dack, Marquis (Norris 78mins), McDonald. Subs: G Morris, Legge, McGlashan, Galbraith, A Morris, Dickenson.

Swindon: Foderingham, Branco (Gladwin 73mins), N Thompson, Turnbull, Byrne, Kasim, Swift, Luongo, Toffolo, Williams (Hylton 61mins), Smith (Obika 52mins). Subs: Belford, Barthram, Rodgers, Ouldridge.

Attendance: 7,025 (278 away)

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