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Folkestone Invicta 0 Gillingham 4 match report

ByMatthew Panting

Gillingham continued their pre-season campaign with victory at Folkestone on Saturday.

The Isthmian Premier hosts were in the game more than the final scoreline suggested and it proved a worthwhile workout for Gills.

A sizeable crowd enjoyed the summer sunshine and were treated to a decent match with both teams passing the ball around well.

Gillingha's Brandon Hanlan on the attack at Folkestone. Picture: Andy Jones
Gillingha's Brandon Hanlan on the attack at Folkestone. Picture: Andy Jones

Gills got off to a perfect start when Nathan Thomas scored from 20 yards inside the second minute.

But Folkestone were proving much stiffer opposition than Faversham in Steve Evans' pre-season bow as Gills boss.

A mazy run by Scott Heard took him through the heart of the Gills defence, the ball falling to Jerson Dos Santos whose goalbound effort was cleared away by Alfie Jones.

Brandon Hanlan had a couple of sightings at goal at the other end. Keeper Tim Roberts blocked an early effort with his legs before Hanlan's next attempt was headed to safety by ex-Gills defender Finn O'Mara.

Johan Ter Horst flashed an effort just wide of the upright as Folkestone continued to create openings against a Gills defence still getting to know each other - only Max Ehmer was at the club last season.

A second goal arrived five minutes before the break for Gills when Hanlan's cross was tucked away by Mikael Ndjoli.

Mikael Ndjoli scores Gillingham's second goal against Folkestone. Picture: Andy Jones
Mikael Ndjoli scores Gillingham's second goal against Folkestone. Picture: Andy Jones

At the other end, Gills keeper Jack Bonham made a fine one-handed save on the stroke of half-time to preserve his clean sheet - the rebound skimming the top of the bar.

Gillingham replaced trialist left-back Joe Skarz, who has previously played for Rotherham and Bury, with Bradley Garmston at half-time, the latter making more of an impression on the contest.

From Garmston's 60th-minute cross, GIlls were awarded a penalty as Nat Blanks pulled back Hanlan. The Gillingham striker took the spot-kick himself, finding the bottom corner despite the best efforts of keeper Tim Roberts.

Folkestone's Johan ter Horst bursts forward against Gills. Picture: Andy Jones
Folkestone's Johan ter Horst bursts forward against Gills. Picture: Andy Jones

That goal sparked a flurry of planned changes as the Gills changed the other 10 players who had started the game. Among the new faces up front was Mikael Mandron - released by Colchester at the end of last season.

The fresh legs up against a tiring Folkestone saw Gills dominate. Mandron was willing up front and his work-rate was rewarded with a tap-in eight minutes from time after Regan Charles-Cook's cross.

Elliott List was denied a fifth by a combination of the woodwork and substitute keeper Joe Coleman late on.

Folkestone: Roberts (Coleman 78mins), Vincent, Blanks, Newman (Dickens 30mins), O'Mara, Everitt (Hasler 58mins), Heard, Draycott (Paxman 53mins), Ter Horst (Okoh 78mins), Dos Santos, McCann.

Gillingham: Bonham (Walsh 61mins), Hodson (Fuller 61mins), Skarz (Garmston 46mins), O'Keefe (Cisse 61mins), Ehmer (Tucker 61mins), Jones (Ogilvie 61mins), Thomas (Byrne 61mins), Willock (Oldaker 61mins), Hanlan (Mandron 61mins), Ndjoli (Trialist 61mins), Reilly (List 61mins). Subs not used: Woods, Campbell, Scarlett.

Attendance: 681.

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