Six goals shared with Jamie Lawrence's Football AcademyA mixture of the Gills development and youth squads got some pre-season minutes under their belts in a workout against a side from Jamie Lawrence’s Football Academy at a sunny MEMS Priestfield Stadium this lunch-time.
Ashley Miller scored twice and Jack Sellens added a late equaliser as the two sides shared six goals in a reasonably enjoyable encounter.
The Gills had an early scare when the visitors hit the base of Tom Gowans left-hand post from a third minute free-kick with the rebound being put over the top from close range.
A good tackle from Jake Hessenthaler instigated the Gills best move in the 17th minute, Mahlon Romeo breaking down the right and crossing which was just too far in front of Nathan Nyafli.
It was JLFA that took the lead in the 21st minute, having won a tackle just outside the area the ball was played forward for Harry Crook to beat Tom Gowans with a low shot.
Only a fine save from the Gills keeper denied the London outfit a second two minutes later, keeping out an 18-yard shot from Arlan Khadema but it was the French striker who was in the right-place to knock the ball home to double the advantage from the resultant corner.
Gills – Gowans, Romeo, Carter ©, Bent, Staunton, Hessenthaler, Webster, Blanchard, Derry, Miller, Nyafli.
H/T: 0 – 2
The Gills, who had made five changes at the break, pulled a goal back five minutes into the second-half, Hessenthaler played a neat ball through for Miller to run onto and he tucked away the chance at the second attempt after the keeper blocked his first strike.
Just before the hour the visitors two-goal advantage was restored when the left-sided midfielder stole in at the far post to steer a shot across the exposed Luke Nalder and in off the upright.
First-year scholar Danny Leonard almost pulled one back in the 62nd minute, his curling shot from the angle beat the keeper but landed on the roof of the goal.
A minute later though the deficit was cut once more, Miller again raced through to tuck his shot under the advancing keeper. This was followed by another three Gillingham changes, and almost immediately a Miller free-kick was headed wide by sub Greg Cundle at the far post.
In an attempt to draw level the home side changed to a 3-4-3 formation in the closing stages but it was Nalder who pulled off a decent save to keep out a fierce drive while Mitchell Dickenson got in a great block five minutes from time.
With three minutes remaining however the gamble paid off when the scores were levelled thanks to a great turn and shot by Jack Sellens. He controlled a ball in from the left with a neat first touch and then smacked the ball home with his second, a fierce left-footer which gave the keeper no chance.
Gills - Nalder, Parter, Carter, Bent (Emptage 69), Dickenson, Staunton, Leonard, Hessenthaler (Cundle 69), Webster (Sellens 69), Millbank, Miller