Danny Kedwell's header secures a derby win for the Gills
It may only be looked upon as a pre-season friendly victory but the Gills more than matched Chris Powell's Championship new boys at a sunny but breezy MEMS Priestfield Stadium. The Gills looked resplendent in their new kit of red and blue shirts, white shorts and blue socks which of course dates back to the one worn when the name changed from New Brompton to Gillingham 100 years ago.
As it was Danny Kedwell's 26th minute header proved to be the telling factor against a Charlton squad that had come into the friendly unbeaten in their previous six pre-season games.
Both teams knocked the ball around reasonably well and looked equally dangerous when in possession but it was Martin Allen's new look Gills that had the better of the chances.
That said the first real chance fell to the Gills in the sixth minute when Danny Kedwell fed Chris Whelpdale who struggled to keep his feet as he broke into the box and was eventually denied by Addicks keeper Ben Hamer at his near post.
Five minutes later Kedwell fired a long range effort at the keeper before Matt Fish and Chris Whelpdale both fired over the bar.
It was the Gills who took the lead in the 26th minute, with a replica goal from the friendly at Ebbsfleet last Saturday. A long throw from Charlie Lee was glanced home across Hamer by Kedwell at the near post.
The visitors looked to respond almost instantly, first Jordan Cook saw a header from Dale Stephens corner cleared off the line by Whelpdale then Stuart Nelson stood tall as Bradley Wright-Phillips attempted to clip the ball over him.
Bradley Pritchard put a fierce angled effort over the bar for the visitors but keeper Nelson only needed to watch. The Addicks midfielder went a bit closer in the 88th minute but his back post header again cleared the bar.
The third Gillingham substitution saw Adam Birchall getting a warm reception from home supporters when replacing skipper Lee with ten minutes remaining. Kedwell took the armband.
As the Gills forward momentum continued Kedwell was denied by a last ditch tackle and Lee put a looping header narrowly over the top.
From the resultant Jackman corner, who had also come on, Johnnie Jackson had to clear the seemingly goalbound ball away from the line.
Another Lee throw caused the Athletic rearguard problems in the 67th minute, although Montrose didn't get the cleanest of headers on the ball, keeper Hamer was forced to help it over the bar.
Just after the hour the home bench made a double substitution with Danny Jackman and Lewis Montrose replacing Bradley Dack and Ben Strevens respectively.
Charlton's best chance of the came came in the 50th minute, Rochester-born right-back Chris Solly got forward to cross and found French forward Yann Kermorgant who put a scissors-kick wide of Nelson's left-hand post.
H/T: 1 - 0
Just before the break Whelpdale put a close range header straight at Hamer from a Joe Martin cross.
Gills- Nelson, Fish, Martin, Flanagan, Davies, Payne, Lee (Birchall 80), Whelpdale, Dack (Jackman 61), Kedwell (Allen 84), Strevens (Montrose 61)
Unused subs: Forecast, Evans, Brown
Charlton- Hamer, Solly, Wiggins, Jackson, Morrison, Cort (Dervite 61), Pritchard, Stephens, Kermorgant, Wright-Phillips (Haynes 65), Cook (Hollands 77)
Unused subs: Wagstaff, Sullivan, Taylor, Wilson, Kerkar
Referee: Andy D'Urso
Assistants: Paul Kelly & Ian Fissenden
Fourth Official: Paul Yates