Richard Day reports from Buzzlines Stadium...
An 80th minute goal from Alex Brown saw a young Gills side record a narrow Kent Senior Cup victory at the Buzzlines Stadium inflicting a first defeat on a Folkestone side lying second in the Ryman Division One South table.
It was another useful workout for Mark Patterson’s team who go through to face Blue Square South Bromley in Round Two.
Neil Cugley’s side had a good chance to open the score in the third minute, a cross from right-back Lee Gledhill evaded the Gills defence and Reggie Savage came in at the far post to poke the ball goalwards forcing Daren Hawkes to parry.
At the other end three minutes later skipper Joe Carter found George Humber with a neat ball and the young forward turned quickly and headed towards goal before unleashing a cracking effort from around 25 yards which skimmed the bar with home keeper Jack Delo beaten.
In an end to end opening Josh Burchell headed over from another Gledhill cross for Folkestone while Hawkes also had to react quickly and take the ball away from Savage as he looked to break into the area.
An 11th minute short corner led to Humber rising at the far post to head home but the ‘goal’ was disallowed for offside.
Three more Gledhill crosses saw the lively Savage and James Everitt both put headers over the top and Darren Marsden, a former Gills youth player, miscue a shot as the home side continued to look dangerous when going forward.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic though, especially after the Gills finally got their neat passing game going. Alex Brown got forward to fire a shot from distance at Delo then following a neat move involving a number of players Alfie Coates shot wide from 20 yards.
The enigmatic Stuart King thought he had given Folkestone a 36th minute lead when he chipped the ball goalwards with Hawkes stranded but Jack Parter got back to head clear.
In the 40th minute Frankie Raymond, the latest recruit to the Development squad, forced keeper Delo to parry a fierce strike but although Humber got to the rebound first he couldn’t keep his shot down.
Four minutes later some good work down the right by Humber saw him set up Raymond and his shot seemed destined for the back of the net until Frankie Chappell, another ex-Gill, threw himself in the way to head clear.
H/T: 0 - 0
Humber put a header over in the early stages of the second-half but it wasn’t until the 56th minute that either keeper was tested, Raymond seeing his low shot clutched low to his left by Delo.
With the Gills now on top Ashley Miller put a shot straight at the home goalie but even he stood motionless moments later when Coates powerful strike flew inches wide.
Both Carter and Raymond were booked in quick succession following heavy challenges and from the second of these, the free-kick was nodded down to Savage who saw his thunderous drive blocked bravely by Josh Maughan.
The first Gillingham change was made in the 76th minute when Kane Haysman replaced the hard- working Humber up front.
It wasn’t until the 80th minute that the deadlock was finally broken. Another neat move from deep ended with a precise Raymond ball sending Brown breaking into the area and he slotted the ball low past the advancing Delo.
Folkestone went in search of an equaliser and Everitt saw an effort blocked by Raymond before Savage somehow failed to find the net at the far post following a Burchell free-kick.
A second change for the Gills came in the 87th minute when Nathan Nyafli took over from Miller.
Invicta – Delo, Gledhill (Philpott H/T), Dickson, Friend, Chappell, Savage, Smith, Marsden, Everitt, King (Mortimer 76), Burchell
Unused subs: Lester, Hayward
Gills – Hawkes, Parter, Carter, Coates, Hare, Maughan, Humber (Haysman 76), Brown, Miller (Nyafli 87), Brunt, Raymond
Unused subs: Lee, O’Neill
Referee – Stuart Butler
Assistant Refereee’s – Phil Rowley & Dan Bonneywell