GillsConnect News Desk

Dateline: SUNDAY 11 MARCH 2018



Gills: Tomas Holy, Luke O'Neill, Max Ehmer, Gabriel Zakuani, Callum Reilly, Mark Byrne, Jake Hessenthaler, Josh Parker, Lee Martin (Navid Nasseri 90), Scott Wagstaff (Elliott List 79) and Tom Eaves (Conor Wilkinson 45).

Unused subs: Tom Hadler, Bradley Garmston, Ben Nugent and Franck Moussa.


Gillingham 3

Conor Wilkinson (48)

Lee Martin (66 & 80)

Yellow Cards:


Ball Possession: 54%

MoM: Lee Martin

Attendance 18,247 (1,551 Gillingham fans)

Portsmouth 1

Jamal Lowe (19)

Yellow Cards:

Christian Burgess (28)

Ball Possession: 46%

MoM: Kal Naismith

This was a brilliant performance, after a slow start from the Gills, with three superb goals that would grace any match. Gills came good in front of their biggest crowd of the season and pleasing 1,551 travelling supporters who never let up on their support all afternoon.

Boss Steve Lovell made changes after a dull first half from the Gills and must have said all the right words. A brilliant goal from substitute Conor Wilkinson and two superb efforts from captain Lee Martin brought a first ever win at Fratton Park and a deserved three points.

The atmosphere was electric with both sets of supporters making plenty of noise and both teams looked pumped-up to compete for the ball and give nothing away in the first opening minutes. First exchanges were mostly in the midfield region that was accompanied by some fierce, but pretty fair tackling, as each team tried to find a decent opening.

Portsmouth Ben Close tried his luck from long-range and although well wide it didn’t stop the first chants of the ‘Pompey Chimes’ from the home supporters. First Gills attack was from Man of the Match, Lee Martin, who forced a corner after trying to find Tom Eaves on the penalty spot.

From a Pompey breakaway Anton Walkes put over a great cross, only for Jamal Lowe to waste the chance by heading over when well placed. Pompey were looking the far better side in those early minutes - as on ten minutes and then again on twelve - Kal Naismith drives at Tomas Holy but both efforts flashed past the Gills goal.

Nineteen minutes in and Jamal Lowe (pictured right) scored for Portsmouth. The build-up was extraordinary as there were several missed, and half lost tackles by the Gills, after Josh Parker had first lost the ball in the midfield.

Somehow Pompey managed to keep possession and Jamal Lowe received the ball outside of the area but despite several attempts to block the ball by both Zakuani and Ehmer, Lowe created space to fire past Holy into the roof of the goal from eight yards out.

Twenty five minutes into the game and Gills were under pressure from non-stop Pompey attacks as they were failing to clear the ball to get the midfield and attacks going. Portsmouth, moving the ball around well, were causing Gills players to chase shadows and not looking well-organised enough to cause any problems.

On the 30 minute mark, Scott Wagstaff managed to put a cross into Tom Eaves but it was easily cleared up-field by Naismith to Jamal Lowe who was clear and running in one on one with Tomas Holy. With another goal looking certain Luke O’Neil made a superb last second challenge to  block the shot, put the ball out for a corner, saving a certain goal.

Portsmouth continued to pile forward and shoot on sight with another fine effort from Lowe that went just wide. This direct attacking seemed to be unsettling the Gills defensive unit and was causing some hasty and wild clearances. A Gills corner eases the pressure and was taken by Lee Martin onto the head of Tom Eaves who unfortunately put the ball wide of the target.

The dangerous Naismith fired another effort over the bar after receiving the ball unchallenged some eight yards out – lucky for Gills as it was a terrible miss. When Gills did retain possession in midfield it was often wasted by some poor passing and movement from the Gills team. Five minutes to the break and Kal Naismith again finds space to drive the ball toward the top left hand corner but it was low enough for Tomas Holy to pull down to his chest.

A poor first half by Gills who seemed unable to cope with strong attacking movement by a Pompey side who are showing that they really want all three points. Half-time: Portsmouth 1 v Gills 0

Gills boss Steve Lovell must have had stern words in the break and he sends on Conor Wilkinson replacing another ineffective 45 minutes from Tom Eaves and Gills started off like they perhaps should have, forcing Pompey back and equalized with their first real attack of the second period in the 48th minute.

A long clearance from Jake Hessenthaler up to Conor Wilkinson (left), who running in from the right-hand side cleverly beat two defenders and switched the ball onto his favoured left boot.  Conor struck a brilliant curling shot that went low past goalie McGee and shaved the inside of his right hand post.

Pompey come back strongly and after Mark Byrne brought down Naismith they gained a free-kick just outside the area. It was taken quickly by Ronan and although Tomas Holy was nearly caught out, he watched as the ball struck the crossbar. A period of pressure followed as Pompey forced a couple of corners in quick succession that thankfully came to nothing.

Never-say-die Gills came back yet again to take the lead through their captain Lee Martin (right) in the 66th minute to stun the Pompey support. The Gills had a throw-in, some twenty-five out. Lee Martin received the ball from Jake Hessenthaler and then smashes the ball all the way past a startled McGee and several Pompey defenders into the Pompey goal.

Back came Pompey and a Burgess header from a corner had to be hacked clear off the line by an alert Mark Byrne with Holy beaten. Few minutes later Donohue missed a great chance shooting wide after latching onto a through pass that spilt the Gills defence wide open. Pompey’s Haunstrup followed this with a header that was straight at Holy when he was well placed.

Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett sent on his third sub of the afternoon in an effort to pep up his team that were not looking as sharp as their first half performance. Lovell responded sending on Elliott List who replaced Scott Wagstaff with ten minutes remaining.

Gills then won the match with their third goal of the game – a brilliant effort from captain Lee Martin who, out on the left wing and seeing goalie McGee a yard or two off his line, speeds the ball high into the opposite corner for a superb goal of the match.

Pompey tried to the final whistle but were well beaten in the end by a determined Gills team that, despite a poor opening, came good when it mattered and scored three very good goals to win this contest. The Gills fans at the final whistle were a sight to behold - a first ever win at Fratton Park.

There’s only

one Stevie

Lovell !