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Wrexham 2 Gillingham 0: Ollie Palmer and Ben Tozer score in League 2 match at the Racecourse Ground as Stephen Clemence beaten in first league game in charge

There was no comeback for Gillingham after going behind at Wrexham to a goal inside the opening minute.

It was the worst possible start for Gills’ head coach Stephen Clemence in his first league game. His team conceded inside 60 seconds as Wrexham’s Ollie Palmer pounced from close range. Ben Tozer doubled the lead midway through the second half.

Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence Picture: @Julian_KPI
Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence Picture: @Julian_KPI

More: Coach sees encouraging signs in defeat

Gillingham dropped to 10th in League 2 following defeat at Wrexham

Home side Wrexham were in great form ahead of the match, with four wins from five in the league, in contrast to hit and miss results from the Gills.

Clemence opted for the same eleven which had kicked off the previous weekend’s game at non-league Hereford in the FA Cup first round. A much sterner test was expected.

Clemence had picked up a Gills side sitting ninth in the table, with seven defeats from their first 16 games.

With an Armistice Day ceremony pre-match and an RAF flypast, the teams were lined up ready to go early and it wasn’t even 3pm by the time the Gills conceded.

Wrexham’s big two strikers immediately caused problems at the back, with Sam Dalby playing the ball back for Palmer to finish, as both Shad Ogie and Conor Masterson were unable to clear. The goal hit the net with 50 seconds gone.

Gillingham responded to the early blow by winning a couple of corner kicks, one which was played back in after being cleared and presenting Ogie with a super chance. With just the keeper to beat and on his favoured foot he fired wide.

Palmer shot wide for the hosts too as Dalby again played him in.

The Gills lacked the quality from the set-pieces they won - four in the first half - and were often wasteful in possession but they remained in the game.

Moments before the interval the Gills had a big penalty appeal turned down when Scott Malone and many of the 1,000 away followers felt his shot had been blocked by the hand of Aaron Hayden.

Referee Will Finnie dismissed the calls from the Gills, with goalkeeper coach Deren Ibrahim still protesting at the teams went off at the break. Hayden’s arm had been by his side as the ball struck.

Gills went off at the break without a shot on target.

George Evans tried to beat the Gills keeper early in the second half with a lob from around the halfway line after winning the ball off Williams, but Turner got back to claim the ball.

Turner was at full stretch to save a Palmer header with an hour gone and James Jones’ 20-yard effort was deflected wide.

Jayden Clake had Gillingham’s first on-target effort with 62 on the clock but Arthur Okonkwo got behind it. It was his last piece of action before being replaced by Tim Dieng.

Williams fancied himself from 25 yards but didn’t get a proper connection as the home keeper mopped up again.

Wrexham doubled their lead in the 71st minute, Tozer getting infront of Coleman and meeting Mendy’s left-sided cross and planting the ball past Turner.

There was no coming back from that for the Gills with substittue Tim Dieng heading wide as the last action of the game.

Gillingham: Turner, Alexander, Malone, Masterson, Ogie, Coleman, J Williams (Nichols 75mins), Jefferies, Clarke (Dieng 63mins), Mahoney (Lapslie 75mins), Bonne. Subs not used: Morris, Clark, Ehmer, S Williams.

Wrexham: Okonkwo, Hayden (Tunnicliffe 86mins), Tozer, O’Connor, Forde, Jones, Evans, Lee (J Davies 88mins), Mendy, Palmer, Dalby. Subs not used: Howard, Boyle, McAlinden, Cannon, Bickerstaff.

Referee: Will Finnie

Attendance: 10,268 (1,148 away)

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