Gills start their away campaign with a defeat to Wolves at Molineux
Wolves Premier League stars shone as Gills slipped to a 4-0 defeat at Molineux
Martin Allen made five changes from the side that started against Bristol City in the Capital One Cup, with Danny Kedwell and Cody McDonald returning up front, Amine Linganzi, Charlie Lee and Myles Weston restored to the midfield.
Kick-off was delayed by ten minutes due to congestion at the home turnstiles and both sets of fans combined to create an electric atmosphere around Molineux as play got underway at 3.10pm.
Wolves had the first sight of goal in the third minute after the ref awarded a free-kick to the home side following Barrett’s challenge on Doyle. Bakary Sako stepped up to take the set-piece but failed to test Nelson with a curling effort that looped over the cross bar.
Just two minutes later the Old Gold found the net through Leigh Griffiths. Sam Ricketts found the former Hibs forward with a deep ball out of defence which Griffiths controlled on his chest before turning to shoot into Nelson’s bottom left corner.
The home side enjoyed the best of the opening stages with Kevin Doyle pulling a shot wide from the left edge of the area before Nelson pushed Griffith’s rising driving over from the right hand angle of the box. While Richard Stearman should have found the net but failed to connect with a Matt Doherty pass across the face of goal.
On the 15 minute mark Zeli Ismail forced a path to Nelson’s right hand post and pulled back but neither Doyle or Ricketts could convert. Then Myles Weston fashioned the Gills first opening with a neat ball in to Amine Linganzi who rifled a shot into the side netting from the right of the six yard box.
The home side continued to carve out dangerous openings, Griffiths and Sako combining for Doyle to fire in from range, his effort well blocked in the box by Adam Barrett. But there was nothing the skipper could do to prevent Wolves second on 25 minutes, Griffiths’ ball cannoning off Weston and into the path of Lee Evans who lifted his finish into the far corner, beyond the reach of Stuart Nelson.
Wolves’ third arrived on 31 minutes, Ismail Zeli the architect with another run to Nelson’s left hand post and an inviting ball across the face of goal for Bakary Sako to slot into the net. Soon after, Danny Kedwell responded for the visitors with a ferocious effort from 25 yards that just skimmed the crossbar.
Stuart Nelson performed heroics seven minutes from the break with an acrobatic leap to push Leigh Griffiths’ blistering volley over the bar. Then in the final minute of the half, Charlie Lee was unlucky to fire wide of the mark from Kedwell’s ball across the box.
Steven Gregory earned the games’ first booking two minutes after the restart for checking Doherty’s progress down the left flank. The Gills were then denied a clear penalty when Kedwell’s goal-bound shot hit the arm of Evans but the ref waived away appeals from the visiting players.
On 54 minutes Martin made his first change of the match, introducing Bradley Dack for Steven Gregory as the Gills looked for a route back into the match. Seconds later, there was almost another for the hosts as Griffiths laid off for Sako to shoot inches wide of Nelson’s far post.
Three minutes later the Gills made their second substitution, Martin bringing on Chris Whelpdale in place of Cody McDonald and the move almost paid dividends on the hour, as Kedwell set up Whelps to fire a low effort which Ikeme saved down to his right-hand upright.
Wolves were awarded a penalty on 68 minutes after Leon Legge brought down Lee Evans on the right side of the area. The visitors centre-half earned a yellow card and Leigh Griffiths stepped up to the spot and slotted into Nelson’s bottom right corner for his second goal of the game.
Three minutes later Martin made his final substitution of the afternoon, bringing on the fresh legs of Antonio German for Danny Kedwell. But it was the home side that enjoyed the better of the chances, sub Bjorn Sigurdarson spurning two decent openings in quick succession.
Two minutes from time Charlie Lee went close to earning a consolation for the visitors with a shot just wide of the top left corner from Whelpdale’s pass but it wasn't to be the visitors afternoon.
Gillingham: Stuart Nelson, Michael Harriman, Joe Martin, Leon Legge, Adam Barrett, Steven Gregory (Bradley Dack 54), Amine Linganzi, Charlie Lee, Danny Kedwell (Antonio German 71), Cody McDonald (Chris Whelpdale 57), Myles Weston.
Subs not used: George Howard, Callum Davies, Charlie Allen, Bayo Akinfenwa
Wolves: Carl Ikeme, Matt Doherty (Kevin Foley 89), Richard Stearman, Danny Batth, David Davis, Leigh Griffiths, Bakary Sako, Lee Evans, Samuel Ricketts, Zeli Ismail (Jack Price 77), Kevin Doyle (Bjorn Sigurdarson 64).
Subs not used: Wayne Hennessey, Jake Cassidy, Liam McAlinden, Ethan Ebanks-Landell.