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3 April 2015

Gills slip out of playoff contention following 1-0 defeat to Fleetwood at Priestfield

Fleetwood Town midfielder Gareth Evans scored on his 100th appearance for the visitors to give his side a 1-0 victory against the Gills at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Good Friday.

Evans struck from close range on 18 minutes, firing a low shot past Glenn Morris, to extend the Gills' current run to four home games without a win.

Manager Justin Edinburgh stuck with the same starting XI, and 4-2-3-1 formation, that were deployed in last Saturday's victory at Crawley Town, although development youngster Michael Freiter was named on the bench for the first time this season.

The Gills had the first chance of the game on four minutes. Luke Norris's headed knock-on found to Jermaine McGlashan, who was fouled by Town captain Mark Roberts on the right wing. However, Doug Loft's free-kick was straight at Chris Maxwell.

Town's opening opportunity fell to Evans, who volleyed over the bar after a break led by Jamie Proctor was only partially cleared by the Gills defence.

But the midfielder made amends minutes later, as he fired in Town's winner. From a throw-in by former Gills loanee Adam Chicksen, David Ball weaved through the home defence before his cross was parried by Morris. However, Evans was the first to react, firing low into the net.

Evans was involved in Town's next chance midway through the first half, which ended with Ball blazing narrowly over from an acute angle following some neat one-touch passing.

John Egan headed a Loft corner straight at Maxwell and Norris put another wide, before the Gills ended the half with their best move of it. Norris and Bradley Dack combined to find McGlashan, who fired low at the Town goalkeeper.

H/T: 0-1

The Gills started the second half brightly, and twice came close to an equaliser in the opening five minutes. Loft had a goal-bound half-volley blocked by the Town defence, and seconds later Norris's low drive was deflected just past the post by Steven Schumacher. McGlashan then shot narrowly over following a quick move that involved Dack.

However, only a brilliant Morris save prevented the visitors from doubling their advantage in the 54th minute. Maxwell's clearance found Ball, whose volley was spectacularly tipped wide by the Gills goalkeeper.

Ball continued to look threatening for Town; a Max Ehmer block diverted his blazed effort just wide of the post two minutes later.

Gills substitute Cody McDonald shot wide within 60 seconds of replacing Norris on the hour mark, and then headed over from Dack's corner.

John Marquis fired wide from the edge of the box following some combative tackling from Amari'i Bell on 69 minutes, before McDonald's shot on the turn was inadvertently blocked by substitute Brennnan Dickenson.

The Gills were restricted to a number of half chances in the final 20 minutes, most notably when the onrushing Leon Legge headed wide from a Dack corner on 86 minutes, and Aaron Morris's header was well-saved by Maxwell in stoppage time.

But Town's defence stood firm, allowing their team to win at Priestfield for the first time in their history.

F/T: 0-1

Gillingham: G Morris, Hoyte, Egan (Legge 82), Ehmer, Bell, A Morris, Loft, McGlashan, Dack, Marquis (Dickenson 71), Norris (McDonald 60)
Unused subs: Nelson, Freiter, Hessenthaler, Muldoon.

Fleetwood Town: Maxwell, Forbes (Murdoch 64), Roberts, Pond, Chicksen, Evans (Jordon 90), Schumacher, Sarcevic, Morris, Proctor, Ball (Hunter 68).
Unused subs: Moore, Haughton, Dobbie, McAlinden.

Attendance: 7,961 (101 Fleetwood)

Referee: Mr B Malone

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