Jake Hessenthaler grabs winning goal to clinch victory against Plymouth in Capital One CupGillingham came from a goal behind in the last 10 minutes to defeat Plymouth Argyle 2-1 at Home Park and advance to the second round of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday evening.
Craig Tanner had put the hosts in front with a spectacular volley, but the Gills regrouped and Bradley Dack levelled things up with an expertly executed lob before Jake Hessenthaler headed over the line from a yard out to secure the visitors a place in the next round.
Justin Edinburgh made two changes to the side that beat Sheffield United 4-0 with Jake Hessenthaler and Jermaine McGlashan replacing Aaron Morris and Emmanuel Osadebe, neither of which were named in the squad.
Callum Davies returned to the bench with Rory Donnelly keeping him company. Luke Norris started up front with Ben Williamson.
The first 10 minutes of the game were very quiet with the only half chance falling to Argyle in the opening seconds when Gregg Wylde’s run down the left hand side was well covered by Ryan Jackson who sprinted back to help shield the ball out for a goal kick.
On 14 minutes the visitors showed the first signs of quality when Dack drove forward a good 30 yards, he found Norris who worked the ball towards the advancing Adedeji Oshilaja but the on loan centre back couldn’t direct the ball beyond Luke McCormick.
Argyle started to get a grip on proceedings and on the 20 minute mark should have taken the lead, Wylde was picked out on the left wing with only Nelson to beat – the keeper stood tall and kept the first effort out with his foot before a second shot forced a reaction stop.
Carl McHugh saw a close range strike go wide before a snap shot in the Argyle area was well defended on the line.
Reuben Reid was next to have a go on 37 minutes but his tame left footed effort was comfortably saved by Nelson before McCormick denied a Norris shot just before the interval.
Early efforts by Norris and Graham Carey were blocked following the half time break as both sides tried to gain a hold on proceedings.
Norris was again involved on 62 minutes, on receiving the ball he produced a clever turn and dropped his left shoulder before sending a shot narrowly wide of the target.
Three minutes later and Nelson pulled off a magnificent save to deny Hiram Boateng. The midfielder tried to find the bottom corner only for the Gills number one to palm the effort clear with his left hand with the following corner cleared off the line by Houghton.
Dack diverted an effort narrowly wide moments later as McCormick failed to sufficiently clear a cross from the left, with the midfielder then having an effort ruled out for offside.
With 12 minutes left to play Argyle got themselves in front, a cross from the right was played on a pin head for Craig Tanner. He watched it all the way and produced a spectacular volley which gave Nelson no chance as it nestled in the top left hand corner.
With the hosts believing they might have settled the tie Gillingham responded immediately. Dack, who had been left puzzled by his earlier disallowed effort, latched onto an excellent through pass from Houghton.
A fortunate ricochet put the ball into his path and he suddenly found himself one on one with McCormick.
He waited for the keeper to commit and lifted the ball over him and into the net.
With the fans having just sat down they were on their feet again as Gills took the lead. Donnelly, on for Norris, unselfishly chose to pick out Hessenthaler at the back post rather than take a shot himself and the youngster couldn’t miss from a yard out to seal the tie.
Argyle: McCormick, Mellor, Sawyer, McHugh, Nelson, Hartley, Reid (Simpson 84), Carey, Wylde (Brunt 78), Jervis (Tanner 11), Boateng.
Unused subs: Bittner, Cox, Purrington, Bentley.
Gills: Nelson, Jackson, Oshilaja, Egan, Dickenson, Hessenthaler, Houghton, McGlashan (Garmston 59), Dack, Norris (Donnelly 84), Williamson (Wright 69).
Unused subs: G Morris, Ehmer, Davies
Referee: Mr K Johnson