Gills seal 3-1 win over Folkestone in strong display at the Fullicks StadiumGillingham capped off a dominant performance against Folkestone Invicta on Friday night with a 3-1 win at Cheriton Road.
Danny Kedwell, Brennan Dickenson and Doug Loft got on the score sheet during an encouraging display for Peter Taylor’s men who had only just returned from a pre-season training camp in Colchester.
The Gills boss named a strong starting 11 for the match; however none of his new signings appeared until the second half where nine alterations were made during the interval alone.
Trialist Josh Stanford started wide on the left wing with Antonio German joining Danny Kedwell in attack.
Gary Borrowdale got his chance to impress after getting the nod as left back with Joe Martin out due to a knock.
Aaron Morris, Glenn Morris, Josh Pritchard and Amine Linganzi all missed out due to slight niggles.
Despite a few absentees Gills controlled the opening exchanges with Antonio German having a shot inside the box well blocked by a recovering defender.
The visitors decided to use the right wing at every opportunity and on 10 minutes it nearly paid off when Josh Hare produced a cross which German couldn’t connect with before Millbank’s teasing low delivery failed to find a blue shirt.
Folkestone weathered the early storm and got a goal against the run of play on 16 minutes.
The hosts worked the ball to the right hand side and Josh Vincent suddenly found himself with room for a shot, he struck it well and beat Nelson in to the top corner.
The effort surprised the vast majority of the crowd having seen little of the ball up until that point, but their optimism would be short lived.
A corner from Dack two minutes later was placed well towards the penalty spot, the defence failed to clear and Kedwell converted well from around 10 yards.
The ball seemed to be heading behind the forward but he got enough power and direction behind the shot to beat Roberts who, despite getting a touch, couldn’t keep it out.
From there on in the visitors looked well in control and Folkestone struggled to get a foothold on the match – Millbank had an effort well saved by Roberts before Kedwell chose power over precision and the shot cleared the bar.
Peter Taylor made nine changes at the break with only Stuart Nelson and Gary Borrowdale continuing. Folkestone brought on Ian Draycott in place of Michael Everitt.
And it was one of the nine new faces that scored the next goal – Brennan Dickenson, moments after being fouled, made his way into the box and pounced on a loose ball to fire beyond Roberts with a powerful effort and put Gillingham ahead once more.
The forward found himself unmarked inside the box and made no mistake with his first effort on goal, to the delight of the Gills faithful.
And the crowd didn’t have to wait long before the third Gills goal – Doug Loft ventured forward and received the ball just outside the area, he made space for a shot and drilled a low left foot effort beyond Roberts.
Loft, who wore the Captain’s armband during the second half, was able to find the net just 11 minutes into the half which seemed to deflate Folkestone who made a host of changes during the second period to try and get back in the game.
Frankie Chappell very nearly did so – a cross from the right hand side was met with a decent header, but Nelson was happy to see it go over the bar before he was replaced by England schoolboys goalkeeper Tom Hadler.
Cody McDonald saw two efforts thwarted by Roberts at the other end, Jermaine McGlashan put an effort wide and Luke Norris also missed the target late on.
However it was a deserved victory for Gillingham who took a number of positives from the match in addition to the result, with Manager Peter Taylor likely to play two more 45 minute sides during the game against Bromley on Tuesday.
Gillingham first half: Nelson, Hare, Borrowdale, Legge, Barrett, Hessenthaler, Dack, Millbank, Stanford, German, Kedwell
Second half: Nelson (Hadler 60), Fish, Borrowdale (M Dickenson 70), Egan, Davies, McKain, Loft, McGlashan, B Dickenson, Norris, McDonald
Folkestone: Roberts, Vincent, Blanks, Friend, Chappell, Yianni (Coyne 55), Smith (Edge 75), M Everitt (Draycott 46), J Everitt (Dryden 75), Booth (Phillip 55), Newman (Wraight 67).
Referee: Mr M Dunn