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16:57 15th August 2009

Curtis Weston 640x480


Gillingham tasted defeat for the first time this season but were unlucky to lose 4-2 in an entertaining encounter at Prenton Park.

Not surprisingly Mark Stimson kept faith with the side that comprehensively beat Swindon 5-0 on opening day, with highly rated youngster Jack Payne marshalling the midfield.

Rovers stunned the travelling support into silence just five minutes into the match when Shaleum Logan's right wing cross found Ian Thomas-Moore, who climbed above the Gills defence to head into the far corner.

Gillingham recovered their composure quickly though and continued to spray the ball around with confidence but were nearly caught out a second time in the 14th minute.

A back pass caught Richards off guard allowing Thomas-Moore to race through on goal but Julian got down well to cover his low shot.

Shortly after Chris Shuker robbed Weston in midfield and found Mahon on the overlap, he teed up Aaron Cresswell to cross but Craig Curran couldn't find the finish to double the home sides advantage.

The Gills first opening of note came in the 20th minute after Nutters corner was cleared direct to Weston. He returned the ball to Nutter who crossed to the back post, Gowling nodded down for Jackson but the Gills leading scorer couldn't connect and the loose ball was hacked to safety.

Gillingham were enjoying a good spell now and went close to equalising four minutes later. Fuller's long pass down the channel found Weston in space, his pass evaded Jackson but carried for Barcham who played in Miller to curl one around Daniels right hand upright.

The equaliser finally came in the 34th minute with Bentley flicking to Jackson who laid off for Curtis Weston to drill a low shot into the near corner beyond a motionless Luke Daniels.

HT 1-1

Seconds after the restart the home side took the lead in ruthless fashion, a throw in from Logan fell to John Welsh who crashed an unstoppable volley into the roof of the net.

Once again Gillingham responded in spectacular fashion in the 53rd minute, Adam Miller fed Andy Barcham on the left of goal and the spring heeled forward hooked a wonder strike into the top corner for his second of the season.

Five minutes later Tranmere nearly found a route to goal again, nippy full back Shaleum Logan got behind the Gills defence but Alan Julian was able to gather his cross at full stretch to deny the waiting Rovers forwards.

On the hour mark Garry Richards climbed highest to meet a Nutter free-kick and was caught late by Tranmere's keeper Luke Daniels. The big centre-half seemed in some discomfort but was able to retake the field after brief treatment to a head injury.

Play was switching from end to end by now with Gillingham probably shading the second half possesion. They could have had the lead for the first time on 65 minutes as Fuller found space to cross from the right but his pass was to high for an unmarked Jackson to apply the finish.

At the other end the home side gave Alan Julian a scare when Aaron Crosswell's curling left wing cross drifted over the keeper and dropped on to the roof of the net much to the Gills relief.

Three minutes after arriving as a second half sub and against the run of play Terry Gornell gave Tranmere the lead for the third time. Gillingham failed to clear the ball on the edge of their area and Gornell arrived to lash a sweet finish into Julian's right hand corner.

In the 78th minute Barcham did well to steal the ball off Goodison's toes in midfield but his speculative drive from distance was high and wide of the mark.

The Gills threw caution to the wind in the final stages and were nearly caught six minutes from time as Chris Shuker's right wing cross carried to sub Gareth Edds at the far post but he couldn't direct his header on target.

Moments later Jackson found Barcham in an identical position to that from which he scored the Gills second, unfortunately this time his effort ended up in the home end.

Two minutes from time Gornell should have claimed his second after rounding Fuller to go one on one with Alan Julian but somehow contrived to miss from point blank range.

In the third minute of added time as the rain lashed down at Prenton Park Ian Thomas-Moore netted his second of the afternoon. A right wing cross was headed back across goal by Gornell to leave Moore with an easy finish at the far post.

So Gillingham leave Prenton Park empty handed but their effort and endeavour deserved a better reward.

Attendance: 5590

Gillingham: Alan Julian, Barry Fuller, Garry Richards, Josh Gowling, John Nutter, Mark Bentley (81 Chris Palmer), Adam Miller, Jack Payne (81 Mark McCammon), Curtis Weston, Andy Barcham, Simeon Jackson.

Subs not used: Simon Royce, Kevin Maher, Jacob Erskine, Rashid Yussuff, Luke Rooney.

Tranmere Rovers: Luke Daniels, Shaleum Logan, Aaron Cresswell, Ian Goodison, Paul McLaren, Ian Thomas-Moore, Alan Mahon (77 Gareth Edds), John Welsh, Gavin Gunning, Chris Shuker, Craig Curran (69 Terry Gornell)

Subs not used: Ash Taylor, Joe Collister, Josh McAuley, Charlie Barnett, Ryan Fraughan


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.