Gills secure comfortable victory in first pre-season game at FolkestoneGillingham got their pre-season campaign underway in the best possible way after defeating Folkestone Invicta 3-0 at the Fullicks Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Debutant Rory Donnelly, Cody McDonald and Bradley Dack were on the score sheet as Justin Edinburgh’s men put in a strong performance to defeat the Ryman South side.
The hosts rarely threatened throughout the match which was a testimonial game for Folkestone’s Captain, and former Gills youth player, Frankie Chappell.
Edinburgh fielded separate XI’s for either half, naming three of his new signings in the opening 45.
Ryan Jackson started at right wing back with Donnelly partnering Luke Norris in attack. Emmanuel Osadebe lined up in central midfield with Doug Loft and Michael Freiter keeping him company.
Gills looked comfortable in the early stages, setting up in a 3-5-2 formation. Osadebe had an early effort deflected for a corner, the initial cross being cleared before a second was headed into the arms of Tim Roberts by John Egan.
Folkestone then had a bright spell but were nearly caught out when Josh Hare’s cross was collected by Roberts at the second time of asking with Donnelly looking to out jump the keeper.
The striker had the ball in the net moments later following a snap shot from the lively Osadebe, however the offside flag quickly ruled out any early celebrations.
On 15 minutes skipper Loft nearly produced a fantastic opener when his left footed effort from 20 yards whistled over the bar with Roberts well placed to tip over if necessary.
Donnelly finally did open the scoring on 26 minutes – good work by Loft created an opening for a pass, the striker appeared to lose possession but after a fortunate ricochet he steadied himself and drove the ball past Roberts and into the opposite corner from 15 yards.
Just before the break John Egan came close to doubling the advantage, he was the surprise taker of a free kick but only failed to miss the target by a matter of inches with Roberts beaten.
As predicted the entire Gills XI changed at the break with Folkestone also making a number of substitutions themselves.
However Gillingham continued to boss proceedings with Josh Pritchard and Bradley Dack pulling the strings in midfield.
And it was Dack who created a second goal for the Gills on 48 minutes – the midfielder played a wonderful pass to Cody McDonald at the back post, the striker collided with Roberts but managed to get to the ball before the keeper.
He placed his header well and the defence couldn’t recover in time before the ball crossed the line.
With Folkestone struggling to get out of their own half the visitors continued to press, and it was Dack who scored a third on 63 minutes.
After a strong solo run the Gills number 23 burst into the box, found space for a shot on his left foot and clinically found the far corner to all but seal victory.
Folkestone had a couple of half chances, the best falling to Jon Pilbeam whose effort was well saved by Stuart Nelson.
However Gills saw the game out to record a comfortable win.
Folkestone (Starting XI): Roberts, Gledhill, Blanks, Wraight, Chappell, Starkey, Pilbeam, Stanford, Draycott, Miller, Wright.
Gills (1st half): G Morris, Jackson, Egan, M Dickenson, Hare, B Dickenson, Osadebe, Loft, Freiter, Donnelly, Norris.
Gills (2nd half): Nelson, McGlashan, Ehmer, Emptage, Garmston, A Morris, Dack, Hessenthaler, Pritchard, Williamson, McDonald.
Referee: Mr N Dunn