Gills suffer second defeat

Gillingham lost 1-0 in the third game of their pre-season campaign, losing away to Blue Square Premier side Grays Athletic.

The loss is Gillingham’s second out of three games so far, as they lost their first pre-season friendly at home to Stevenage Borough 1-0, but won their second 8-0 away to Kent rivals Faversham, who play in the Kent League.

Gillingham made several changes to the side that started against Faversham on Thursday, with promising youngster Luke Rooney partnering Gary Mulligan up front, and Stuart Thurgood starting against his former club, partnering captain Andrew Crofts in the centre of midfield.

The Gills’ first shot of the game came from Adam Miller, whose low shot from the edge of the area on 7 minutes forced a save from Grays keeper Joe Woolley.

The home side became more confident as the half went by, but the Gills should’ve had an opener on 23 minutes when Irish striker Gary Mulligan pounced on an under hit back pass. The Irish striker failed to score however, hitting his shot straight at Grays keeper Woolley.

Grays continued to pile the pressure on the Gills however, and soon got their reward, when on 29 minutes Grays’ forward Danny Kedwell headed the ball in the top right of the goal following defender Sam Sloma’s deep corner, despite the efforts Gills’ defender Barry Fuller to keep the ball out.

The Gills changed their line-up in the second half, with trialists Leo Roget and Nigel Atangana both coming on in defence and midfield respectively, as well as a change up-front with both Simeon Jackson and Dennis Oli coming on to partner each other in attack.

And it was the Gills who made the first chance of the second half, when Simeon Jackson put his effort over the bar following good work from defender John Nutter.

Both sides failed to create any clear chances as the half wore on, with both sides having a lot of time and space on the ball, but just not any shots on goal.

There was then a strange moment on 73 minutes, when Grays defender John Munday got injured and had to leave the field. Grays then wanted to bring on a replacement, but had used up all their substitutes. They wanted to re-use a substituted player, but the referee refused to allow the player to come on, which left Grays having to finish off the game with 10 men.

It was obvious then as to why Gillingham dominated the rest of the game, and they came close to finding an equaliser on 78 minutes, when Tayler Thomas crossed the ball in for Canadian Simeon Jackson, but the striker failed to head on target from 5 yards.

As time was running out, the Gills frantically tried to get that equalising goal, and had a chance when John Nutter sent a good cross into the box for Simeon Jackson, but Grays’ Joe Woolley bravely collcted at the near post.

The Gills had another chance in added time, when good work from Simeon Jackson set up Stuart Lewis, but the Gillingham midfielder hit his shot wide, giving Grays Athletic the win.

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