Gillingham FC extended their unbeaten run to five games after defeating promotion chasing Sheffield United 2-0 at MEMS Priestfield Stadium
Gillingham’s four man caretaker team signed off in style on Saturday afternoon when late goals from Jermaine McGlashan and Cody McDonald secured all three points for the hosts over promotion chasing Sheffield United in a 2-0 win.
The first half was fairly even with the visitors creating the better chances, but after the break Gillingham progressively began to boss proceedings with McGlashan again making all the difference after replacing John Marquis.
New Manager Justin Edinburgh was in the stands to watch his new team, having been unveiled to the press just 90 minutes before kick-off.
The management staff made just one change to the side that drew at Walsall with Bradley Garmston replacing McGlashan.
The left back filled in for Doug Loft who reverted into the centre of midfield alongside Jake Hessenthaler.
Max Ehmer, later voted Man of the Match, and Marquis both started for the hosts having extended their loans from QPR and Millwall respectively earlier in the week.
The game got off to a lively start with both sides enjoying early spells in possession; however there were very few chances during the half.
The best opportunity fell to Che Adams on 22 minutes when his low effort into the right corner was brilliantly stopped by Stuart Nelson, before Bradley Dack’s free kick was well blocked by the Sheffield United wall.
Adams went close again soon after, this time however he missed the target before McDonald did likewise at the other end.
The hosts were forced into a change late in the half when Josh Pritchard hobbled off, with Danny Galbraith replacing him to make his home debut.
There were no changes at the break and the game continued in the same fashion, both sides having time on the ball but chances were few and far between.
Paul Coutts had the first meaningful effort of the half when his shot cleared the bar, before Cody McDonald very nearly produced a Goal of the Season contender on 57 minutes.
Hessenthaler received the ball wide on the right and had time to pick out his target inside the box.
The ball was too long for Marquis, Cody watched it all the way and wrapped his right foot around the shot which struck the top of the cross bar before being cleared.
Soon after and the same pairing were involved again, Hessenthaler again the provider as he whipped a ball to the back post. McDonald this time chose to chest the ball down but his shot wasn’t struck cleanly and it missed the target.
Gillingham were in the ascendency and the support from the Rainham End was certainly having an impact. On 68 minutes the hosts went incredibly close with Gavin Hoyte finding some space on the right hand side; he drove into the box and pulled a well weighted pass back for Dack.
The midfielder hit it first time but it struck the side netting with Mark Howard seemingly well placed to make the stop.
With four minutes to Gillingham did get the goal their efforts deserved – Max Ehmer with the ball forward, McGlashan’s pace seemed to force the keeper to come out and clear. However the winger got to the ball first and made sufficient contact to roll the ball into the net.
Sheffield United threw what they had in the dying moments to try and grab a point, but the Gills launched a magnificent counter attack with McGlashan making space in the centre for McDonald, the pass was weighted beautifully and the striker steadied himself before firing home.
The final whistle sounded soon after to clinch the club’s third straight home win, with Justin Edinburgh due to take charge of his first match this Tuesday at Peterborough.
Gillingham: Nelson, Hoyte, Ehmer, Egan, Garmston, Hessenthaler, Dack, Loft, Pritchard (Galbraith 45), Marquis (McGlashan 79), McDonald.
Unused subs: G Morris, Legge, Dickenson, Norris, German.
Sheff Utd: Howard, Harris, Brayford, Basham, Murphy, Baxter (Holt 77), Davies (Campbell-Ryce 63), Coutts, McEveley, Reed, Adams (McNulty 84).
Unused subs: Turner, Kennedy, Holt, Doyle, Freeman.
Referee: Mr I Williamson