Richard Day reports from the WEM Stadium
Despite going a goal down fairly early on a young Gillingham side, boosted by the experienced duo of Mark Hughes and Ben May, fought back to record a comfortable victory in an encounter that certainly had an edge about it.
The game was a charity game played in memory of Neil Barty with the proceeds going to the Kings College Hospital Liver Unit which attracted an estimated crowd of around 200.
To be truthful it looked like a case of men against boys (Hughes and May the exception) as the home side, made up from a mixture of Kent Premier League Woodstock Sports and Kent Invicta League Woodstock Park, started strongly but it was the sort of physical encounter where the boys had to quickly become men.
Mark Patterson's team were down to ten men, Alex Brown was receiving treatment for an eye problem, when the home side went ahead in the 13th minute. A low cross from the left was headed home from close range by James McDonald.
Brown was unable to continue and he was replaced by Alfie Coates and it was the young midfielder who set up the equaliser just before the half-hour. George Humber's flick played Coates in down the left and his low ball across the face of goal was prodded home by Kane Haysman who had made great strides to get into the area.
Four minutes later and the Gills were ahead when May, who worked tirelessly throughout, held off his marker to smack a shot past Jack Rankin.
Suddenly the Swale side's heads had dropped and the Gills seized the opportunity to ram home their advantage with a third in the 33rd minute. Hughes, who was excellent throughout, split the Woodstock defence with a great pass and Humber ran through to clip the ball beyond Rankin.
May had a couple of other chances before adding goal number four in the 41st minute. The big centre-forward was tripped in the area and the referee had little option but to point to the spot from which the 28-year-old former Millwall, Scunthorpe United and Stevenage man sent the keeper the wrong way.
Although they didn't add to the lead after the break the Gills continued to create chances. Ashley Miller, on another day, could have registered a hat-trick or more, Coates was denied by Rankin saving low to his right while Hughes was also thwarted by the keeper.
There was one needless flashpoint in the second-half when May seemed to be caught by an elbow and made his point which upset Frazer Rogers while the voiciferous home player-manager Ben Taylor needlessly getting involved.
However this incident didn't overshadow a good performance which pleased Development Manager Mark Patterson.
Gills: - Hawkes (O'Neill 85), Parkinson, Morris, Brown (Coates 13, Blanchard 65), Lee (Freiter 69), Maughan (Staunton 69), Haysman (Webster 69), Hughes, May, Humber (Millbank 78), Miller