Gills maintain unbeaten start with impressive win over BradfordLuke Norris struck his fourth Gillingham goal in six matches to help guide Gillingham to a 2-1 win over Bradford at Valley Parade on Tuesday night.
The visitors came from behind to claim maximum points, Norris cancelling out James Hanson’s first half effort who then put the ball in his own net to give Gills the advantage.
The hosts came agonisingly close to sealing a point in the dying stages but were thwarted courtesy of a magnificent reflex save from Stuart Nelson.
Justin Edinburgh made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Port Vale. Jake Hessenthaler and Rory Donnelly came into the starting XI at the expense of Bradley Garmston and Ben Williamson who both sat on the bench.
Darren Oldaker and Elliott List were included once again with Max Ehmer and Jermaine McGlashan providing other outfield options.
After a bright start from the visitors it was Bradford who seized the advantage after just eight minutes, the Bantams broke down the right hand side and following a throw it was Billy Knott who expertly picked out Hanson in space and the striker had the simple task of tapping the ball home from two yards.
However the early goal far from fazed the Gills, they continued to press and create chances – the most meaningful on 15 minutes when Bradley Dack forced a fine save from Ben Williams who dived to his left hand side to palm away a powerful left footed strike from just outside the box.
A number of half chances were created as the half progressed, most notably for Gillingham as Brennan Dickenson and Donnelly both saw efforts miss the target as the Kent side tried to force an equaliser before the break.
Bradford enjoyed early possession in the second half, a couple of early free kicks going their way before Norris sent an effort wide at the other end from 10 yards.
However it didn’t take the forward long to make amends, Dack drove forward and was fortunate enough with a small ricochet before finding the striker wide to his left, Norris took a touch and then rifled a low shot from 20 yards beyond Williams who couldn’t get down quickly enough.
Both sides went in search of a potentially crucial second goal, Dack first failing to test the keeper following a short pass from Donnelly before Alan Sheehan headed wide from eight yards following an excellent free kick from Josh Morris.
On 72 minutes Gills fired themselves ahead, albeit fortuitously. Dickenson whipped in a teasing cross, Adedeji Oshilaja was the closest Gills player to the ball but Hanson looked to have made the last contact and Williams was unable to prevent the ball nestling in.
As the game went into the last 10 minutes Bradford threw everything forward in hope of securing at least a point, and with seconds left on the clock Nelson somehow clawed away a trademark Hanson header to maintain Gills unbeaten start to the new season.
Bradford: Williams, Darby, Sheehan, Hanson, Knott, Morris (Davies 68), Routis (Anderson 33), McArdle, McMahon, James (Marshall 75)
Unused subs: Jones, Meredith, Clarke, Leigh
Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson, Oshilaja, Egan, Dickenson, Hessenthaler, Houghton, Wright, Dack, Norris (Williamson 83), Donnelly.
Unused subs: Morris, Garmston, Ehmer, Oldaker, List, McGlashan
Referee: Mr D Handley