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26 September 2015

Barnsley strike twice in first half to beat Gills at Oakwell

Gillingham slipped to their second successive away defeat following a 2-0 loss to Barnsley at Oakwell on Saturday.

Ben Pearson and Sam Winnall scored both goals for the hosts before the interval, Pearson driving home a 20-yard effort to open the scoring before Winnall took advantage of some space inside the area to place a shot beyond the reach of Stuart Nelson.

Gillingham came out fighting in the second half, their best opportunity falling to Jake Hessenthaler who struck the post late on after coming on as a substitute.

Manager Justin Edinburgh made two changes to the side that lost 2-1 against Colchester. Emmanuel Osadebe and Ben Williamson came in for Jordan Houghton and Cody McDonald respectively, the latter both dropping to the bench.

Former Gills striker Simeon Jackson started on the bench for Barnsley with former Plymouth player Conor Hourihane starting in midfield.

Barnsley won an early corner but Nelson caught it well and this helped launch the first counter attack of the game. Luke Norris found space to drive into and opted to shoot from 25 yards, the effort beating Nick Townsend but narrowly wide of the post.

Moments later and Reece Wabara delivered a low teasing ball right into the heart of the six yard box and the hosts were inches away from making the required contact to take the lead.

Nelson however remained untroubled as the ball skipped past any advancing red shirts.

On 12 minutes Williamson very nearly registered his first goal for the club – good work by Emmanuel Osadebe and Josh Wright helped find the forward.

He used his strength to retain possession, drove into space and then had a shot which was deflected into the arms of Townsend.

Seven minutes later and Barnsley took the lead against the run of play. A cross from the right was headed away by the defence, the ball was left for Pearson to strike and he hit a clean effort through a crowd of bodies and into the corner.

Gills responded well with Doug Loft and John Egan unable to beat Townsend while at the other end Nelson made an excellent save to deny Kadeem Harris.

As half time approached Barnsley nearly gifted the Gills an equaliser when a free kick from Loft was narrowly diverted wide of the left post by a defender attempting to clear.

Townsend was at full stretch but luckily for the hosts they only conceded a corner which they eventually dealt with.

But with the whistle seconds from sounding Barnsley netted a second. A counter attack on the right saw a low cross delivered back towards the 18-yard line, Wright was unable to reach it and Winnall was well placed to drill home an effort into the corner.

H/T: 2-0

The second half began as the first had finished, the Gills enjoying good spells of possession but unable to create the opportunities to trouble Townsend.

Barnsley however continued their search for goals with Marley Watkins very nearly converting Wabara’s low cross.

Gillingham made a double change on 62 minutes as they looked to find a way into the game, Rory Donnelly and Cody McDonald replacing Norris and Williamson respectively.

And it was Donnelly who came close seven minutes later to pulling a goal back, a cross from Brennan Dickenson was headed clear and the forward decided to try and beat Townsend from 18 yards but the effort was narrowly over the bar.

Winnall similarly saw an effort miss the target before McDonald’s effort from 12 yards was well stopped by Townsend. Donnelly pulled the ball back as he approached the byline, his strike partner was in space but couldn’t beat the keeper.

Gills struck the post in the dying moments with Loft’s free kick flicked on at the near post by Hessenthaler, but Barnsley maintained their clean sheet and took maximum points.

F/T: 2-0

Barnsley: Townsend, Wabara, Mawson, Nyatanga, Smith, Pearson (M Smith 74), Scowen, Hourihane, Harris (Crowley 72), Watkins, Winnall (Roberts 90)
Unused subs: Davies, Jackson,  Bree, Wilkinson

Gills: Nelson, Jackson, Ehmer, Egan, Dickenson, Wright, Loft, Osadebe (Hessenthaler 66), Dack, Norris (Donnelly 62), Williamson (McDonald 62)
Unused subs: G Morris, Garmston, A Morris, Houghton

Attendance: 8354 (248 Gills)

Referee: Mr D Deadman

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