Richard Day reports from Star Meadow
Mark Patterson's Development squad got their pre-season campaign off to winning start with a 2-1 win over Hollands & Blair at Star Meadow Sports Ground yesterday evening.
The Gills went ahead through a Billy Johnson own goal before Lee Preston restored parity for the Kent Invicta League outfit late in the first half. The winner came two minutes from time when substitute Ollie Lee rammed the ball home from close range.
The opening goal came in the 13th minute which came directly from a needless foul on Kane Haysman. Ashley Miller curled in a dangerous low free-kick and home defender Billy Johnson gave his keeper James Smith no chance as he sliced the ball into his own net.
Both Cliff Eldridge and Bryan Greenfield had gone close for Blair before the home side did level in the 32nd minute.The lanky Lee Preston rose high above Daren Hawkes to glance a left-wing cross from Greenfield into the unguarded net.
As the half wore on half chances fell to Alfie Coates, Nathan Nyafli and Jack Parter but none seriously tested Smith.
Paul Piggott made a number of changes at the break and former Gills trainee Steve Hafner tested Hawkes with a low strike.
Nyafli saw an effort deflected wide and Haysman was just off target with a header before substitute keeper Dan O'Neill pulled off a great save to deny Marc Chapman. Moments later he was back in action back-pedalling to tip over a dangerous cross.
Chances continued at both ends, Charlie Webster saw his angled shot blocked at close range while Hafner's attempted long-range chip floated just inches over the crossbar.
The winning goal came just two minutes from time. Frankie Beale swung over a corner from the right and the ball fell invitingly for substitute Ollie Lee who smacked a low right-foot shot past the exposed Smith from inside the six-yard area.
Team: Hawkes (O'Neill 62), Parter (Blanchard 62), Carter (Amato 68), Hare, Harris (Parkinson 62), Coates (AN Other 68), Haysman, Brunt (Maughan 73), Humber (Lee 68), Nyafli (Beale 74), Miller (Webster 58)