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09:51 15th January 2012

Jack Payne v Southend 2011-12


Gillingham's first away game of 2012 ended in defeat as Shrewsbury ran out 2-0 winners at Greenhous Meadow.

Shane Cansdell-Sherriff and Mark Wright were on target for the hosts as the Gills failed to take the few chances they had when they came along.

Jack Payne, Chris Whelpdale and substitute Luke Rooney came closest for Gillingham, but in truth it could have been more late on but for some profligate finishing from the home side.

Andy Hessenthaler made just one change to the team that lost against Stoke City in the FA Cup last Saturday - an enforced one as Dennis Oli replaced the injured Danny Kedwell in attack for his first league start of the season.

New signing Gavin Tomlin began the game on the bench, with Jo Kuffour not included at all as he continues to recover from bronchitis.

Shrewsbury made four changes to their team, with lively winger Lionel Ainsworth and striker Terry Gornell left on the subs bench.

Gillingham's first attack of the game nearly resulted in a freak goal as Jack Payne's deflected effort nearly looped in over the head of keeper Chris Neal, but the ball cleared the crossbar and the resulting corner was well cleared by the home defence.

On five minutes Shrewsbury could well have been reduced to ten men when James Collins flew in with a two-footed tackle on Matt Lawrence, but the striker escaped with just a caution.

The game was a pretty even contest for the first quarter of an hour with both sides enjoying good spells of possession, but neither side was able to create a clear-cut opportunity as the midfield battled for control.

On 23 minutes the hosts were nearly given a goal as Andy Frampton intercepted a dangerous cross from Matt Richards, and with Ross Flitney stranded both players were relieved to see the ball go wide of the near post.

The home side were knocking on the door and six minutes later they went close again when Garry Richards cleared Wright's shot in similar circumstances - but from the resulting corner, the Shrews got the goal their dominance merited, the ball eventually falling to Cansdell-Sherriff, who blasted home his third of the season.

This began a period of intense pressure from Shrewsbury which the Gills struggled to contain, but the visitors weathered the storm and continued to push forward as they looked for a much needed equalizer before the interval.

However this naturally left them short of bodies at the back and five minutes before half time it was nearly 2-0. Marvin Morgan burst forward with a surging run and eventually played in Jon Taylor, but his strike went just wide of Flitney's right hand post.

H/T: 1-0

Charlie Lee had the first half chance of the second period with a left foot shot on 55 minutes. Lawrence played in Curtis Weston down the right-hand side, he in turn laid it off to Lee, but the midfielder could only strike wide with his weaker left foot.

With attacking changes imminent it was imperative that Gillingham didn't concede a second, but they very nearly did when Flitney spilled a Collins effort from 25 yards out.

Fortunately for him there was no-one alert enough to convert the follow up and he was able to claim at the second attempt.

Tomlin came on to make his debut in place of Lewis Montrose after 63 minutes. His entrance nearly sparked a goal as Chris Whelpdale nearly found the net with a long-range effort.

That was Whelpdale's last contribution as he made way for Rooney, but Collins should have doubled the lead after confusion in the Gills box, but he fired wide.

But the Gills, inspired by their two substitutes, enjoyed their best spell and Rooney and Tomlin combined to create what proved to be the Gills' best chance of the game, as Rooney managed to work his way into the left hand side of the penalty area, and his strike stung the palms of Chris Neal who directed wide.

Charlie Lee had a half a half chance from the corner, but on the turn he was unable to keep his strike down and the ball sailed into the stand behind the goal.

He could have been dismissed in the 76th minute, but instead was handed a final warning by referee Carl Boyeson.

The game was sealed four minutes from time when Taylor's cross was directed towards an unmarked Wright at the back post. He let it bounce, adjusted his body well and then let fly with a left-foot strike which Flitney could do nothing about.

Matt Richards should have made it 3-0 in the closing stages, but his finish was far from impressive as he found the away fans rather than the net, and then Taylor's effort after being put through on goal was well blocked by the Gills keeper.

F/T: 2-0

Gills: Flitney, Lawrence, Richards, Frampton, Lee, Whelpdale (Rooney 65), Montrose (Tomlin 63), J Payne, Weston, Jackman, Oli (S Payne 73).

Unused subs: Gazzaniga, Fish.

Shrewsbury: Neal, Grandison, Jacobsen, Sharps, Cansdell-Sherriff, Wright, Collins (Gornell 85), Morgan, Richards, McAllister, Taylor.

Unused subs: Smith, McAllister, Ainsworth, Wildig.

Attendance: 4,940 (247 Gills)

Referee: Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire)


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