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10:12 30th January 2012

Gavin Tomlin scores against Wimbledon


Gillingham suffered their fourth straight defeat despite a spirited fightback in the second half as Accrington ran out 4-3 winners at the Crown Ground.

The Gills got off to the worst possible start by falling behind to Michael Smith's goal within 45 seconds, and although Danny Jackman quickly restored parity, two more from Smith either side of Luke Joyce's goal made it 4-1 at the break.

Gavin Tomlin grabbed two goals in the second half to get the Gills within one goal, but they couldn't quite grab a fourth goal to seal a point.

Manager Andy Hessenthaler made just one change to his side, bringing back skipper Andy Frampton after he recovered from a hamstring problem to replace Matt Lawrence, who dropped out of the squad altogether.

Chris Whelpdale (knee) and Dennis Oli (virus) both dropped out of the squad as well, with youngsters Ashley Miller and Dean Rance taking their places on the bench.

Accrington's interim manager Leam Richardson kept faith with the same team that drew against Aldershot seven days ago for his first game in charge after John Coleman's departure for Rochdale earlier in the week.

The very first attack of the game resulted in a goal. Ross Flitney collected the ball with his first touch but his throw out was intercepted by Padraig Amond, who advanced into the box and cleverly played in Smith to tap in from close range.

But the Gills quickly bounced back to level the scores in some style, when Jackman struck a glorious left-footed free kick from 25 yards out.

Jo Kuffour had been fouled after driving forward, and with Jackman and Tomlin looking over it the midfielder stepped up and gave Ian Dunbavin no chance for his fifth goal of the season.

It was merely a brief respite for the Gills though as Stanley continued to press, with Bryan Hughes firing off target from long range before Smith spurned a great chance, failing to connect properly with his right foot after Micah Evans had done well on the wing to deliver the cross.

However Smith did get his second just moments later, Joyce the architect with a great cross from the right which eventually made its way to Smith, who placed the shot beyond Flitney low into the left corner, despite the keeper getting a hand on it.

Smith had a chance for a third not long after when Flitney raced off his line to get to a long ball, but his clearance hit Smith and rebounded favourably for the on-loan Charlton man, but Frampton got back to clear his header towards the open goal.

Accrington's constant pressure and pace down the flanks paid dividends just after the half hour mark as they went 3-1 up, Joyce this time the scorer as his strike from 18 yards out nestled into the bottom left-hand corner.

Hughes went close with an audacious lob, but it was to be 4-1 before the interval when Peter Murphy found himself in space on the right and his low cross beat the Gills defence and presented Smith with a tap-in to complete his treble.

H/T: 4-1

Hessenthaler reacted to a disappointing first half with a pair of substitutions, one of which was in goal as Flitney made way for Paulo Gazzaniga to make his first league appearance.

Curtis Weston also came on for Jack Payne, who had picked up an ankle injury early on in the first half.

The Gills were inches away from reducing the arrears five minutes into the second half when Garry Richards met a cross at the back post, but it scraped the post and went agonisingly wide.

Stanley had eased off slightly, and the Gills were much improved on their first-half showing, although they were finding the home defence tought to break through.

Tomlin had a half-chance on 69 minutes, but on the turn he was unable to direct his shot on target.

However, the deficit was soon reduced by Tomlin as he took advantage of a howler by home keeper Dunbavin, who tried to chip the Gills forward from a back-pass, but succeeded only in presenting the ball to the on-loan Dagenham man, who took a touch before firing in his third goal in two games.

Although Stanley still looked a threat on the break, the seventh goal always looked as though it would go for the Gills, and it did with six minutes remaining.

Weston ran through the midfield and played a perfect ball to Tomlin, who coolly slotted past Dunbavin to give the 261 travelling fans hope of an unlikely point.

Stanley almost got a fifth though as sub Ian Craney shot wide, and even though Gazzaniga went up for a late corner, the Gills could not find the leveller.

In fact, as that corner was cleared, Stanley broke but Gazzaniga got back to superbly tip Evans' shot from 20 yards over the top as the Gills dropped out of the play-off places.

F/T: 4-3

Accrington: Dunbavin, Coid, Winnard, Nsiala, Joyce, Murphy, McIntyre, Evans, Smith, Amond (Craney 84), Hughes.

Unusued subs: Murdoch, Guthrie, Barnett, Willis.

Gills: Flitney (Gazzaniga 45), Lee, Frampton, Richards, Martin, Montrose, Payne (Weston 45), Jackman, Kedwell, Tomlin, Kuffour.

Unused subs: King, Rance, Miller

Attendance: 1,734 (261 Gills)

Referee: Stephen Rushton


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