GillsConnect News Desk

Dateline: SUNDAY 16 JULY 2017

 
 

  GILLINGHAM’S STARTING LINE-UP & SUBSTITUTIONS

First Hour: Stuart Nelson, Luke O'Neill, Gabriel Zakuani, Trialist, Elliott List, Jake Hessenthler, Mark Byrne, Lee Martin, Connor Ogilvie, Trialist and Conor Wilkinson.

Final 30 minutes: Tomas Holy, Max Ehmer, Jack Tucker, Finn O'Mara, Bradley Garmston, Trialist, Darren Oldaker, Josh Wright, Scott Wagstaff, Bradley Stevenson and Noel Mbo.

Gills subs: Tom Hadler, Aaron Simpson, Ben Chapman and Greg Cundle. Attendance: 1,084

In their third pre-season game Gills were up against their strongest opponents yet in National League Dover Athletic at the Crabble managed by Chris Kinnear. As usual in pre-season Gills Head Coach Ady Pennock played two different teams, one for the first 60 minutes and then all change for the remaining 30. Alex Lacey, Aaron Morris and Tom Eaves were all unavailable due to various on-going injuries but there were several trialists. The two teams for Gills are shown in panel below.


In action for Dover were several new signings including Femi IIesamni, Tobi Sho-Silva, Ryan Bird, Manny Parry, Jamie Allen, Kane Richards and Mitch Brundle. In addition, former Gills defender Connor Essam was playing for the Whites along with Aussie defender Giancarlo Gallifuoco.

It took just seven minutes for non-league Dover to breach the Gills defence by two newly signed players. There was a superb cross from the right wing by Femi Ilesamni who joined from Boreham Wood and the ever alert striker, new in from Newport Ryan Bird (pictured right) met the ball to head home down into the bottom corner of the net past Stuart Nelson.


For the next few minutes Gills were all over the place but gradually began to gain some momentum forcing a couple of corners that unfortunately did not produce any attacking positive goalmouth action.


Twenty minutes into the game and Gills have their first real chance following a decent run forward from Connor Ogilvie and from the left wing he delivered a great ball into the area. Jake Hess was first to reach the cross only to send his header wide of the post.

It took just seven minutes for non-league Dover to breach the Gills defence by two newly signed players. There was a superb cross from the right wing by Femi Ilesamni who joined from Boreham Wood and the ever alert striker, new in from Newport Ryan Bird (pictured right) met the ball to head home down into the bottom corner of the net past Stuart Nelson.


With Gills pushing forward now with more intent the Gills first half trialist was brought down inside the area by Dover goalkeeper Walker and the referee didn’t hesitate to point to the spot. The chance to equalise was wasted as Conor Wilkinson sent his penalty kick toward the right corner only for Dover goalie to save well and go from zero to hero.

On 30 minutes Gills new striker Conor Wilkinson (pictured right) becomes the Gills hero for making amends for his penalty miss by quickly taking advantage of an error by former Gils player Essam in the Dover area who missed a cross by the trialist. Conor was onto the loose ball slotting past goalie Walker and scoring the Gills equaliser with a great assured finish.


First Connor Ogilvie was fouled by Essam after a decent forward run and then Elliott List went on one mazy run finishing in the Dover area only to be crudely up-ended but this time the referee waved away List’s and his Gills team-mates loud appeals for their second penalty of the match.

Less than inspiring 45 minutes comes to a end and many watching this ‘yawn-fest’ will be happy to for a cup of tea or something stronger to liven the afternoon. Dover 1 (Bird) v Gills 1 (Wilkinson)


Positive start to the second period from Gills as Lee Martin finishes a good team move by crossing into the box only for the traialist unable to reach the tempting ball and a Dover defender conceded a corner. This was taken by Lee Martin and a late run into the box from Gills defender Luke O’Neil met the out-swinging corner with a powerful header but his effort was well saved by Dover goalie Walker.


Lee Martin continues to impress with another decent run into the Dover area after receiving a great through pass from Connor Ogilvie but his final shot went wide of Walker’s post. At the other end Stuart Nelson had to be at his best to capture the ball from a well placed and deep cross from Dover captain Mitch Brundle.

Seconds before Gills changed their eleven on the hour they take the lead through defender Luke O’Neil (pictured left). The trialist puts over an excellent cross into the area and Luke O'Neill was quick enough to get right side of the defender marking him and plants his firm header beyond the despairing reach of goalkeeper Walker.


The new Gills eleven come onto the pitch with 30 minutes remaining and with the score at 1-2. However within two minutes Dover had equalised through a mistake by Gills goalkeeper Tomas Holy who dropped the ball. The loose ball was turned in from close range by Giancarlo Gallifuoco to bring the scores level again.

Dover were inspired by the equaliser and began to prove difficult for the changed Gills defence on 71 minutes they went extremely close to taking the lead again. A Dover trialist had a decent strike toward the top corner of Tomas Holy’s net and the tall goalie was at full reach but thankfully reached to tip the ball onto the bar for Gills to escape.


This was followed by Dover’s Sho Silva who nearly turned the ball home from close range only for Tomas Holy to dive and stop the ball with chest and head from giving Dover the lead. Gills gradually began to get into some sort of control and Darren Oldaker sent over a pin-point cross only for the Gills trialist to send a first time volley over the bar.

Four minutes remained in the game and Sho Silva picked up a loose clearance to hammer high wide and not very handsome over Tomas Holy’s bar.


The game drifted to a close with both sets of players seemingly happy with the 2-2 draw and both management teams will be happy with the hard workout.


No doubt many positives will be taken as the Gills rack up more pitch time in readiness for next Saturday’s far more testing game against Ipswich.