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29 June 2013

Gills kick-off pre-season with an entertaining win at Faversham

First-half goals from Aaron Millbank and Bradley Dack were added to by an Adam Birchall double as the Gills got their pre-season campaign underway with an entertaining victory at the Shepherd Neame Stadium early on Saturday afternoon.

It was an encouraging and useful workout for the Gills management team as most of the 23 players on show got a useful 45 minute run-out under their belts against last season's Ryman League Division One (South) play-off finalists.

There was a blend of first-team, development and youth team players including some 16-year-olds used here with another squad being sent to a second game at Kent League Ashford United later in the afternoon - both games seeing Sky Sports continuing their pre-season coverage of the Gills.

Those getting the first-half of the game got the better of the weather, it was certainly cooler anyway with the sun breaking through after the break to make it a little more tiring. I'm not sure how much the ice baths were appreciated.

After Danny Kedwell and Stephen Butcher had gone close in the opening minutes it was the home team that took the lead in the 11th minute. Callum Davies was penalised for a 'tug' around 25 yards out and Wayne Wilson took the opportunity to curl home a sublime free-kick that gave Stuart Nelson no chance.

The Lilywhites lead lasted just four minutes though, Millbank was on hand to angle home the equaliser after Harry Grant had seen his low shot touched onto a post by Simon Overland.

With 23 minutes on the clock the Gills went ahead, Dack finding enough room just outside the area to dink the ball over the bemused Town keeper. The excellent finish drawing warm applause from both sets of supporters in an estimated crowd of 5-600.

Although Martin Allen's side dominated for long periods Faversham looked dangerous on the break, Renford Tenyue was a pacey nuisance while Luke Harvey failed to take a couple of half chances.

Gills first-half: Nelson, Fish, Staunton, Davies, Muggleton, Hare, Butcher, Dack, H. Grant, Kedwell, Millbank.

A completely different XI took the field after the break, having spent a fair bit of the opening half warming up under fitness coach James Russell, but they were soon pouring forward.

Ashley Miller (twice), Kane Haysman (twice), Birchall (twice) and Connor Hendricks all had chances, three of which were well saved by sub keeper Dan Ellis, before the lead was extended in the 66th minute.

Young right-back Callum Emptage curled in a great cross from the right and Birchall showed his predatory instinct to move ahead of his marker and glance a header inside of the far post.

Eight minutes later the deficit was reduced when Lyndon Rowland was gifted a simple tap-in after youth keeper Luke Nalder failed to collect a looping right-wing cross.

Charlie Lee fired an effort wide before the Gills wrapped up the scoring in the 76th minute. A great move down the left ended with Ashley Miller touching the ball inside to Birchall who smacked a stunning angled shot beyond the flailing keeper from around 20-yards.

Gills second-half: Nalder, Emptage, Bent, Barrett, Carter, Gregory, Hendricks (A. Grant 85), Lee, Haysman, Birchall, Miller.

Faversham: Overland, Lacy, Maxted, Jenner, Rowland, Ashmore, Marsden, Wilson, Tenyue, Harvey, Lawson Subs: Cass, Oliver, Webb, King, Stone, Ellis

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