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16:56 17th March 2012



Gillingham showed that they are capable of beating any side in npower League Two after an impressive 3-0 victory over Cheltenham at the Abbey Business Stadium.

Jordan Obita struck either side of half time after equally persistent efforts to force the defence into a mistake, before Chris Whelpdale sealed the win following a fine team move inside the final 10 minutes of the game.

The victory will give the Gills a huge amount of confidence going into Tuesday's game against Crawley, and despite the fact they remain 8th in the league they are starting to apply real pressure on the sides above.

The squad were looking to bounce back following the last gasp defeat to Crewe last week at Priestfield, although Manager Andy Hessenthaler was hindered by having four players missing through suspension.

Three changes were made to the side that suffered defeat last Saturday - Matt Fish returned to the starting 11 for the first time since Boxing Day, teaming up with Simon King, Connor Essam and Danny Jackman in an otherwise unchanged defence.

Danny Kedwell came in to replace Ashley Miller, and Jordan Obita returned to take the place of Montrose. Jo Kuffour and Andy Frampton were among the substitutes.

Mark Yates made just one change to his Cheltenham team - Luke Garbutt coming in to replace Keith Lowe.

Darryl Duffy had the first chance of the game in the third minute - he received the ball on the edge of the box, and with a bit of space to play with he hit a right foot shot which Gazzaniga comfortably dealt with in the Gills goal.

For the next 15 minutes very little happened as both sides battled for supremacy in midfield - Danny Jackman doing very well on a number of occasions to prevent Jermaine McGlashan bursting into the penalty area.

The first time he did get clear of the left back he managed to cross for Russell Penn, but he mis-timed his shot which was dealt with by the Gills defence.

Dennis Oli struck wide moments later with Jack Butland watching his effort go past his right hand post.

On 23 minutes the Gills had their first meaningful effort on goal. Jack Payne robbed a Cheltenham defender of the ball just outside the penalty area and he got to the ball first to put Olly Lee in space.

The midfielder had a strike but it was always rising and Butland remained untroubled.

In the 35th minute the home side should have taken the lead. A cross from the left hand side evaded everybody, Gazzaniga misjudged the bounce and Duffy suddenly found the ball at his feet.

However the keeper got an important touch and Jackman was on hand to clear. The striker was at it again moments later, but a slight deflection made the save easier for the Argentine goalkeeper.

Seconds later the game had its first controversial incident. Simon King brought down Duffy as the striker looked set to bare down on goal.

With the centre-back being the last man a red card would have almost certainly been his fate had the fourth official not already flagged for offside.

Five minutes before the break Lee attempted an audacious effort from 25 yards - the ball sat up nicely for him and he tried his luck, but the ball went just a yard or so wide to keep the scores level.

They were not level for long though as Jordan Obita opened the scoring in the 45th minute.

A through ball saw the midfielder hunt down Sido Jombati - the full back struggled to deal with the lively winger and he didn't need a second invitation to convert the loose ball beyond Butland.

It was his second goal for the club since arriving on loan from Reading - the defending was poor but the 19-year-old had to be praised for his persistence in hassling the defender.

The half time whistle sounded shortly after with the Gills having scored at just the right time.

H/T: 0-1

Two minutes into the second half and Connor Essam had to be quick on his feet to block a Duffy effort. The striker was one-on-one and looking odds on to level the scores, but the defender got back well to prevent Gazzaniga making a save.

In the 54th minute the Gills went two-nil up with Obita repeating his goal scoring antics. Gazzaniga launched a kick from his own box to his opposing number.

The centre halves got mixed up and this allowed the on-loan Reading player to take advantage and he expertly lifted the ball over Butland to double the advantage.

A couple of minutes later and Oli very nearly put the game to bed with a powerful right foot strike which went over the bar by a matter of inches.

On 63 minutes Cheltenham came close to getting one back when Alan Bennett climbed highest to win a header from a corner; however despite meeting it well he struck wide.

Duffy then struck wide with the linesman having already deemed him offside.

Six minutes later and Gillingham felt they should have had a penalty. Jo Kuffour showed some nifty footwork and eventually found his way into the box where he was brought down having attempted to go round the keeper.

To say there was contact would have been a tremendous understatement, but the referee only signalled a corner with the striker puzzled as to how a spot kick was not awarded.

On 75 minutes Danny Kedwell had chance to clinch all three points for certain.

Whelpdale did well on the right hand side to present a low cross in front of the striker - the Gills number nine turned and hit a shot which cannoned back off Butland's chest and was then cleared.

Eight minutes later and it was game over. Chris Whelpdale finishing off a fine move as the Gills claimed all three points.

Whelpdale began the move with a fine run inside, he offloaded the ball and Kedwell found himself with some space on the right hand side.

Instead of shooting he played the ball across for the midfielder who was free inside the box, and he had the simple task of tapping home as Andy Hessenthaler's side deservedly sealed a fine victory.

McGlashan nearly pulled one back on 90 minutes but Gazzaniga dealt with it comfortably and the referee brought the game to a close shortly after.

F/T: 0-3

Cheltenham: Butland, Elliott, Pack (Spencer57), Duffy, Bennett, Penn, Garbutt (Goulding 74), McGlashan, Jombati, Mohamed (Low 57), Summerfield.

Unused subs: Lowe, Smikle

Gills: Gazzaniga, Fish, Essam, King, Jackman, Whelpdale, Obita, J Payne, O Lee, Kedwell, Oli (Kuffour 61).

Unusued subs: Hawkes, Evans, Frampton, Miller.

Referee: Mr A Madley

Attendance: 3,137 (382 Gills)

Goals: Obita (45, 54), Whelpdale (83).

Bookings: King (37)


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