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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
11:33 28th March 2012

Paulo Gazzaniga

BURTON ALBION 1-0 GILLINGHAM

Gillingham's chances of achieving a play-off position took a major setback as they were beaten 1-0 by Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium.


An own goal from Matt Fish early in the second half was enough to separate the sides as the Brewers secured their first win in 17 league outings.


Paulo Gazzaniga was on form in the second half as he produced three or four quality saves to keep the score at 1-0.


Jo Kuffour had the Gills' best chance late in the first period but could only find the hands of Albion stopper Ross Atkins.


With the hosts on a bad run form of leading up to the game, the Gills were hoping to take advantage and stay in the hunt for a top seven placing.


Andy Hessenthaler named the same team that drew 2-2 at Bradford on Saturday, although he was able to welcome back Charlie Lee and Danny Spiller to the substitute's bench after they served their three-match bans.


Burton made three changes to their team - Jimmy Phillips, Jack Dyer and Nathan Stanton replacing Tony James, Lionel Ainsworth and Seanan Clucas.


The home side could have taken the lead in as early as the second minute.


Greg Pearson played in Justin Richards on the edge of the box, and although he beat Gazzaniga, he was unable to beat the side netting and the Gills had an early let off.


Jordan Obita had the first chance for the visitors just a couple of minutes later - Danny Jackman found himself in space and played in the midfielder on the left-hand side of the penalty area.


Obita however mishit his effort and Atkins was able to watch the ball go wide.


After an intense opening the game did begin to calm down, although Burton were having the majority of possession and looking the more threatening, with Richards and Pearson looking good in particular.


Richards tried his luck again in the 12th minute, but he failed to get any elevation on his shot and Gazzaniga was able to stop the ball comfortably with both hands.


Six minutes later and Obita had a second opportunity to open the scoring. Kuffour burst forward and picked his pass well to find Obita lurking in space.


His shot was well struck but straight down the throat of Atkins who made a straight forward catch.


The game turned in to a rather scrappy affair with neither side able to put together a sequence of passes - Richards' right-foot effort on 27 minutes was the first action the match produced for quite a while.


On 40 minutes the visitors created the best chance of the game as Kuffour went on one of his solo runs which ended up in the heart of the penalty area.


He adjusted his body so he could strike with his right foot, but the resulting effort was tame and Atkins got down with plenty of time to gather easily.


The remainder of the half passed without incident and the teams went in level at the break.


H/T : 0-0


Jacques Maghoma was straight in to the action after the break and nearly scored a cracker from all of 25 yards. With space outside the box he decided to try and place a shot in to the top right-hand corner.


Gazzaniga was at full stretch and was unable to get a hand on it - however it didn't matter as the ball went over the top and away from danger.


Richards had a golden chance to give Burton the lead in the 54th minute. He had time and space inside the box but shot straight at Gazzaniga.


Seconds later he was in on the act again and this time the hosts took the lead.


Pearson attempted to go round Gazzaniga - the keeper made a great stop but the ball scampered free and hit Fish who could do nothing to prevent the ball going over the line.


It was an unfortunate goal to concede, especially considering the fact the Gills stopper seemed to have prevented a goal being scored as he did well to block Pearson's initial effort.


However Fish was in the wrong place at the wrong time and gave the Brewers a fortuitous lead.


Kuffour could have levelled a couple of minutes later - Chris Whelpdale showed good feet to offload the ball to the striker, but from a difficult angle he could only find the arms of Atkins.


It wasn't until 71 minutes that the game sparked in to life once more, but it was the home side who were making things happen.


Adam Bolder nearly ended a spectacular run from inside his own half, only to have his shot blocked.


Phillips tried the same thing seconds later but was dis possessed as the Gills struggled to offer anything themselves.


Dennis Oli and Lee were brought in to the action in place of Jack Payne and Fish, but Lee was replaced after just nine minutes after suffering an injury.


Rowan Vine came on to make his second appearance from the bench in four days.


Richards should have sealed the win on 81 minutes. He had two attempts on goal - the first handed to him after Essam mis hit his pass to Frampton.


He hit his shot at Gazzaniga, and his second chance, arguably the better one, was saved fantastically by the Argentine.


He directed a header in to the bottom corner and it looked as if the keeper might be beaten, but Gazzaniga produced a stunning stop to deny an almost certain winner.


Lewis Montrose had a half chance on 85 minutes when he hit a half volley from outside the area with his right foot, however the ball was always rising and it seemed at this stage as the Gills were destined not to draw level.


Substitute Lionel Ainsworth -on for Pearson - forced another save from Gazzaniga when his shot from inside the box rebounded back off the body of the keeper and away from safety.


In the last 15 minutes the Argentine made three or four crucial stops to keep the visitors in the game.


However his efforts proved to be in vein as the Gills suffered defeat to make their chances of making the play-offs incredibly difficult.


They are now seven points shy of Cheltenham who occupy the final slot.


F/T: 1-0


Burton: Atkins, Webster, Stanton, Corbett, Richards (Ada 90), Austin, Phillips, Pearson (Ainsworth 79), Maghoma, Dyer, Bolder.

Unused subs: James, Taylor, Clucas.


Gills: Gazzaniga, Fish (C Lee 68 [Vine 77]), Essam, Frampton, Martin, J Payne (Oli 63), Whelpdale, Montrose, Obita, Jackman, Kuffour.

Unused subs: King, Spiller.


Attendance: 1,714 (150 away)


Referee: Mr D Webb


Bookings: Stanton (44), Martin (66)


Goals: Fish og (54)

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