The Gills bow out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in the quarter finals after a penalty shoot-out defeat
Bradley Garmston’s stunning strike wasn’t enough for the Gills as Yeovil Town progressed to the semi finals of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win a penalty shoot-out victory at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
Garmston struck on the stroke of half time with a brilliant curled effort after Harry Cornick had given the League Two strugglers an early lead.
The Gills were unable to find a winner, and after both teams scored their first four kicks in the shoot-out each, Rory Donnelly fired over and Connor Roberts converted to send the Glovers through.
Five changes were made from the team who lost in the FA Cup at Stevenage on Saturday: Garmston, Deji Oshilaja (playing his first game since August), Harry Lennon, Josh Wright and Bradley Dack were named in the starting XI in place of Max Ehmer, Aaron Morris, Jordan Houghton, Emmanuel Osadebe and the suspended Brennan Dickenson.
Town had three good chances within the opening five minutes - makeshift striker Omar Sowunmi headed just wide from Wes Fogden’s deep cross, Shaun Jeffers’s deft chip over Stuart Nelson found the side netting and after Nelson had to come off his line to clear, Ben Tozer hit the bar with a 50-yard effort.
The visitors took the lead on 13 minutes, as Cornick created space for himself in the box, and fired into the top corner with the outside of his right foot.
Doug Loft had the first Gills attempt with a blocked volley on 17 minutes, and Fodgen got in the way of Garmston’s effort shortly after.
John Egan headed onto the roof of the net from Loft’s deep cross after 24 minutes as the Gills worked their way back into the game.
The equaliser came two minutes before half time in a move that started on the right side of the pitch. Starting with a Ryan Jackson throw, the ball went via Wright and Loft before the latter found Garmston on the left wing. He cut inside to his right foot and curled into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Manager Justin Edinburgh made one half-time sub, as Osadebe replaced Oshilaja, and the Gills switched from a 3-5-2 to a 4-4-2 formation.
Cornick should have claimed his and Yeovil’s second six minutes after the break, but somehow blazed over from six yards following Jeffers’s determined run into the box.
Matthew Dolan fired at Nelson from the edge of the box shortly before the hour, and Loft’s brilliant volley was ruled out after the offside McDonald flicked the ball in his path.
Town had an even better opportunity 15 minutes from time, but unmarked defender Alex Lacey volleyed over the bar from six yards from a headed Ryan Bird flick.
Loft shot wide from 25 yards as the game entered its final five, Donnelly had a goal-bound effort cleared by a Town defender before goalkeeper Weale denied Dack with a low save.
Weale made an even better stop in the final minute of stoppage time from Loft’s curling effort to take the game to penalties.
Dack, Egan, Loft and Ben Williamson all scored for the Gills, before Donnelly’s miss and Robets’s conversion for Town decided the game.
The Gills return to League One action on Saturday, as Bury visit the MEMS Priestfield Stadium in a 3pm kick-off.
F/T: 1-1 (4-5 on penalties)
Gillingham: Nelson, Egan, Oshilaja (Osadebe 45), Lennon, Jackson, Wright (McGlashan 74), Dack, Loft, Garmston, Donnelly, McDonald (Williamson 80)
Unused subs: G Morris, A Morris
Yeovil Town: Weale, Roberts, Ward, Lacey, Smith, Fodgen, Tozer, Dolan, Cornick, Jeffers (Allen 90), Sowunmi (Bird 66)
Unused subs: Needle, Bassett, Beck
Attendance: 1, 832
Referee: Mr D Whitestone