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25 July 2012

Gills run out convincing winners at MEMS Priestfield

A good chance went begging in the 23rd minute, Jack Evans made one of numerous breaks down the right and his cross was inviting for Allen once again, but he only managed to scoop the ball at the keeper.

On 12 minutes a great pass from Birchall almost set up Strevens perfectly but the former Wycombe strikers first touch allowed RE's keeper Dean Love to save.

The Gills had a great chance to open the scoring in the fifth minute when Ryan Gilligan put the ball over the visitors defence to put Charlie Allen in on goal. However after deciding not to lob the stranded keeper the midfielder dallied seconds too long allowing a recovering defender to knock the ball away. Ben Strevens was penalised for going in too heavily in his attempt to get to the loose ball.

Tommy Forecast started his first game in Gillingham colours since his loan move from Southampton in a side skippered by Adam Birchall who, after a season long injury, was making his first appearance on home soil.

Just as he did at Dartford on Saturday, Allen used 22 players during the game and once again chose to make one en masse substitution on the hour changing all eleven once again.

To be truthful the margin of victory could, perhaps should, have been greater as the home side created but squandered a number of other chances.

Young attacking midfielder Bradley Dack hit an amazing four goals in just ten first-half minutes as Gillingham hit seven goals past the Royal Engineers as Martin Allen got his first taste as Gills boss at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
Just after the half-hour a good touch on the edge of the area by Callum Davies set up a chance for Strevens but the keeper was out quickly to block. 

The pressure finally paid off when the opening goal came in the 32nd minute, Evans crossed deep from the right and Bradley Dack ghosted in to place a downward header beyond Love. 

A heavy pass from Evans failed to pick out Strevens, Gilligan and Allen, but the second goal did come four minutes later. Strevens forced the keeper wide then laid the ball off to Dack who showed plenty of composure before stroking the ball over a covering defender into the unguarded net. 

Dack completed his hat-trick in the 41st minute when a powerful right-foot strike from just outside the area burst through Love's hands and dropped into the net behind him. 

The attacking midfielder made it four goals in ten minutes moments later when Allen unselfishly stroked the ball across the face of the keeper and Dack rolled the ball home. 

Gilligan curled a great shot against the bar before Birchall added number five when he ran onto a pass and poked the ball home from the edge of the area. 

Subs: Brown, Reece, Bell 

- Love, Ellis (Partridge 77), Morgan (Barker 77), Taylor, Glover (Smith 32), Griffiths (Roy H/T), Ridley, Stacey, Perry (Lawson 42), Hubbard, Green (Cameron 77) Engineers

Subs: Nelson, Fuller, Martin, Frampton, Essam, Lee, Whelpdale, Montrose, Brunt, Jackman, Kedwell - for the above 60 minutes.

- Forecast, Evans, Carter, Payne, Hare, Davies, Allen, Gilligan, Strevens, Dack, Birchall Gills

Barry Fuller, Andy Frampton, Jackman and Whelpdale all had efforts prior to the seventh, and final goal coming in the 90th minute when Lee took advantage of a headed clearance from Love to volley the ball home from wide out on the left-hand side of the pitch.

The ball was worked from right to left with Whelpdale finding Danny Jackman, he laid it off for Joe Martin to cross and last season's leading goalscorer Danny Kedwell timed his arrival in the six yard box to thump the ball home.

Lewis Montrose glanced a header just over and Chris Whelpdale struck a low shot inches wide before the the sixth goal came in the 69th minute.

Maybe the new team were caught cold but almost immediately after the Gills substitutions were made the Sappers pulled one back, a right-wing corner from Scotty Roy was met by the RE's version of Peter Crouch and gave Stuart Nelson little chance from eight yards out.

H/T: 5 - 0

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