Gillingham advance to the Kent Senior Cup Final after a thrilling penalty shootout victory over Margate at Priestfield

Gillingham are through to the Kent Senior Cup Final after a dramatic 6-5 penalty shootout win over Ryman Premier League side Margate.

The match finished 1-1 after normal time with Danny Galbraith producing an excellent strike shortly after the interval to cancel out Freddie Ladapo’s powerful effort on 37 minutes.

With the scores locked the game was decided via spot kicks, with Ryan James missing the crucial penalty to send the Gills through.

Mark Patterson named a strong team for the match with Jermaine McGlashan and Brennan Dickenson lining up in attack with Galbraith and Leon Legge also featuring.

Devante McKain captained the team with Glenn Morris keeping goal.

It took just 20 seconds for Gillingham to have their first shot, a loose ball falling into the path of Galbraith whose left footed effort missed the target by a good few yards.

The game was a fairly even affair in the exchanges that followed, however on seven minutes Margate went close when Tambeson Eyong’s cross was met by Jamie Taylor inside the penalty area.

His first time effort was well struck but Morris was well placed to make the save before a solo run from Brennan Dickenson resulted in a short pass to McKain whose shot was palmed wide by Nikki Bull for a corner kick.

Margate were far from intimidated by an experienced Gills XI and worked their way forward whenever possible, a ball to Ladapo intercepted by Morris before the keeper caught a shot from Lewis Taylor from a difficult angle.

Half chances came and went but on 37 minutes the visitors took the lead. The ball was cleared following a Gills attack, Emptage did his best to win possession back as Jamie Taylor looked to get forward, he did just enough to find Ladapo albeit his pass was heavy.

The striker found his way inside the penalty area and powered a right footed shot beyond Morris to open the scoring.

H/T: 0-1

Gillingham were not behind for very long in the second half, equalising within 90 seconds of the restart.

Galbraith received the ball, shifted his weight to one side and sent a terrific left footed effort into the top corner which gave Bull no chance.

This gave Gills the momentum and Bull had to look alert to block a Brennan Dickenson effort from close range, but Gate were far from out of it and Morris made an excellent one handed save at his near post to deny Tom Phipp whose headed effort looked destined for the bottom corner.

The visitors were nearly made to pay for that missed chance just three minutes later when McGlashan’s pace suddenly became a threat.

He ran almost the entire length of the field, skipping over one late challenge to drive into the box. With some clever footwork he moved inside and struck the ball with his right foot, however the shot lacked power and Bull made a comfortable stop.

On 63 minutes Ladapo pounced on a loose pass at the back and had a clear view on goal; however his effort went well wide of the left hand post before substitute Zac Attwood tries his luck from 25 yards but failed to trouble Morris.

As the clock ticked down chances became few and far between, however in the dying moments Lewis Taylor found himself with a clear view on goal but sent his shot just wide.

F/T: 1-1

Penalties –
Jermaine McGlashan – SCORED
Lewis Taylor – SCORED
Mahlon Romeo – SCORED
Charlie Wassmer – SCORED
Brennan Dickenson – SCORED
Sam Rents – SCORED
Aidan Blanchard – SCORED
Zac Attwood – SCORED
Danny Galbraith – SCORED
Jamie Taylor – SCORED
Charlie Webster – SCORED
Ryan James - MISSED

Gillingham win 6-5 on Penalties.

Gills: G Morris, Romeo, Legge, M Dickenson. Emptage, McGlashan, Blanchard, McKain (Cundle 31), Galbraith, Webster, B Dickenson.
Unused subs: Haigh, Bent, Hendricks, Thompson

Margate: Bull, Eyong, Rents, Gerring, Wassmer, Johnson, L Taylor, Phipp (Attwood 66), J Taylor, Ladapo, James.
Unused subs: Wills, Riviere, Moss, Armstrong-Ford

Referee: Mr S Butler