Gills suffer first defeat of pre-season following a 2-0 loss to Ipswich Town at PriestfieldGillingham suffered their first defeat of pre-season following a 2-0 win for Ipswich at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
An early goal by Alex Henshall was added to in the second half by sub Luke Hyam, and Gills were unable to make the most of the opportunities they had to get a result.
Peter Taylor fielded a strong XI for the game with Doug Loft wearing the captain’s armband and partnered by Jake Hessenthaler in the centre of midfield for the first half.
Antonio German joined Danny Kedwell in attack after scoring twice in his last two matches.
New signing Aaron Morris was named on the subs bench alongside Josh Hare and new signings Brennan Dickenson and Luke Norris.
Fans had hardly taken their seats before Ipswich scored the opening goal of the game on two minutes – the visitors worked the ball down the right hand side and Stewart was able to pick out Henshall at the back post.
Legge and Fish were unable to clear the danger and the winger had the task of tapping in at the far post.
Soon after and it was very nearly two when Henshall’s corner was met with a firm header by Tommy Smith. However it was off target and Nelson was well placed to tip it over if necessary.
Gills created their first chance on nine minutes – a corner from Hessenthaler was delivered to the back post and Egan rose highest but Gerken was well placed to catch with ease.
On 15 minutes Loft tried one of his customary long range efforts – Fish took a quick throw to play in McGlashan, he let the ball run but did well to find the skipper who shot wide of the target.
A Stewart free kick provided simple catching practice for Nelson before another Egan header was this time caught by the Ipswich stopper.
Following another drinks break both sides battled for midfield possession, but neither keeper was troubled before the referee blew for the half time whistle.
The second half saw six changes for Gills and they seemed to have an immediate impact as the hosts began to hassle the defence on a more consistent basis.
An early free-kick was struck over the bar by Brennan Dickenson before an effort by Luke Norris was easily stopped by Gerken.
However Ipswich responded well; substitute Jack Marriott forced a good save from Glenn Morris before the follow up by Kevin Bru cleared the bar.
Five minutes later and the advantage was doubled. Balint Bajner delivered a decent ball to the near post, Luke Hyam met it well and beat Morris into the top corner.
Up to this point the Gills were holding their own but the Manager decided to make a further change immediately with Aaron Morris replacing Gary Borrowdale as he appeared for the club for the very first time.
Hyam had the ball in the net again a minute or so later following Bajner’s effort which came off the post, but the offside flag was up quickly to deny the midfielder a brace.
On 69 minutes Luke Norris had two bites of the cherry to bring the hosts back in the game – the first, a header, was blocked before a left foot strike was similarly dealt with.
Cole Skuse and Amine Linganzi struck wide of the post within a minute of each other before Daryl Murphy, another sub, also failed to hit the target.
With Ipswich seemingly in control it wasn’t until the last minute when their back four looked temporarily vulnerable. Dickenson decided to go it alone down the left wing, he squeezed between two defenders but couldn’t beat the keeper at the near post.
Gills: Nelson (G Morris 46), Fish (Hare 46), Egan, Legge, Borrowdale, Loft, Hessenthaler (Linganzi 46), McGlashan (Dickenson 46), Dack, German (McDonald 46), Kedwell (Norris 46).
Ipswich: Gerken, Veseli, Parr (Mings 77), Bru, Smith, Chambers (Berra 78), Stewart (Murphy 78), Skuse (Nouble 78), Bajner, Taylor, Henshall
Referee Mr A D’Urso