Richard Day reports from the Crabble Ground
Goals from Danny Jackman and Adam Birchall saw the Gills continue their pre-season campaign unbeaten against Blue Square South Dover Athletic on Tuesday evening.
A crowd of 825 plus many non-playing Gillingham players were at the Crabble to see a reasonably strong Gills side, skippered by Adam Birchall on his return to Dover, in pre-season action.
The Dover squad included four ex-Gills, defender Tom Wynter and midfielder Dean Rance started while player-manager Nicky Forster and winger Barry Cogan were on the bench but made second-half appearances.
That said it was the home side that created the first openings of the game, Dean Rance fired wide within the first sixty seconds, Steven Watt put a header wide and Jamie Smith was also off target with a shot.
That said it was the Gills that took a twelfth minute lead. Charlie Allen slipped the ball inside to Lewis Montrose who in turn fed Danny Jackman around 20-yards out, he drilled a low shot past Lee Hook and the ball found the net via the keepers left-hand post.
On 27 minutes Billy Bricknell had a good chance to equalise when running onto a Callum Willock header but dallied a little too long on the ball allowing French defender Itoua to block.
A good piece of refereeing from Stuart Butler allowing Bricknell to continue after Willock had been fouled, but the forward failed to get in a telling shot.
With 38 minutes on the clock Allen played a neat ball through for Ashley Miller to run onto but his low drive was blocked by Hook.
Four minutes later the Gills went two up from a left-wing Jackman corner. Connor Essam saw his header cleared off the line by Steve Thomson and the ball fell invitingly for Birchall to fire home through a crowded goalmouth.
Andy Frampton, Ashley Miller and the two French trialists failed to reappear after the break with Jack Evans, Alex Brown, Josh Hare and George Humber replacing them, these moves saw Jackman reverting to left-back.
The first chance of the second-half fell to Jackman, following a Jack Payne long throw, but his low strike was collected by Hook at the second attempt. Shortly after that Brown cracked a shot inches over the top.
Dover pulled a goal back out of the blue in the 54th minute, substitute Cogan played in a free-kick from the right and Willock rose above his marker to plant a header past Tommy Forecast.
Allen twice went close at the other end, without testing Hook, while Brown fired another shot wide after Birchall’s attempt had been blocked.
Jackman returned to midfield shortly after the hour mark when Joe Carter came on to replace Payne and then in the 73rd minute Montrose was withdrawn, not long after being on the wrong end of a heavy challenge, with Tom Brunt going on.
Athletic had their chances to level matters but Thomson fired across the face of goal and Forster screwed a low right-foot shot inches wide of Forecast’s right-hand upright.
Only one thing spoiled the evening and that was late injury to Essam who had to be helped from the pitch after seeming to land awkwardly – Josh Maughan coming on.
Sean Raggett put a header wide in time added on before Brown made a last ditch tackle to thwart Bricknell a shooting opportunity.
Dover: Hook, Huke (Axford 67), Wynter, Rance, Watt (Raggett 62), Simpemba (Webb 67), Modeste (Cogan H/T), Thomson (Pilcher 85), Willock (Forster 67), Bricknell, Smith
Subs: Harrington, Walker
Gills: Forecast, Mikael (Evans H/T), Frampton (Brown H/T), Essam (Maughan 89), Itoua (Hare H/T), Payne (Carter 62), Allen, Montrose (Brunt 73), Jackman, Birchall, Miller (Humber H/T – Millbank 89)
Unused subs: Hawkes
Referee: Stuart Butler
Assistants: Paul Yates & Saul Kay
Fourth Official: David Smart