BOLTON 4-0 GILLINGHAM: MATCH REPORT
Gillingham suffered a 4-0 defeat away to Bolton Wanderers on Monday evening in Sky Bet League One, with the home team scoring twice either side of half-time.
Gary Madine opened the scoring on 14 minutes, before Josh Vela doubled the home side’s advantage before half-time. Madine scored his second of the night 20 minutes into the second period and Sammy Ameobi completed the scoring late on.
Gills manager Justin Edinburgh made only one change from the win over Rochdale last month, with Frank Nouble coming in for the injured Billy Knott. Stuart Nelson made his 200th start for Gillingham, since signing back in the summer of 2012.
The game started as a lively affair, with action at both ends of the pitch. The Gills’ first opportunity came on 10 minutes, from the unlikely source of both centre-backs. Baily Cargill controlled the ball in the penalty box, and the ball eventually came to Max Ehmer 10-yards from goal, but the defender’s effort was deflected for a corner.
Gillingham had another opportunity just a minute later, this time from top-scorer Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. Nouble’s cross was cleared only as far as Emmanuel-Thomas, but the striker couldn’t keep his effort down as the ball sailed into the stands.
Ameobi was causing problems down the right-wing for the away side, and nearly contributed to the opening goal with just 12 minutes played. The wide man cut in on his left-foot and crossed for Vela, whose knock-down was met by Tom Thorpe, but the right-back’s effort was deflected for a corner.
Two minutes later the home team took the lead through Madine. The striker peeled off his marker and couldn’t miss from six-yards, heading home following an inch-perfect cross from Vela on the left-wing.
Zach Clough had a great opportunity to double Wanderers’ advantage on 27 minutes after being played through one-on-one by Ameobi, but the number 10 couldn’t beat Nelson, who stood his ground to block the effort.
Vela made it 2-0 with 28 minutes played, latching onto a great back-heeled assist from Clough and sliding the ball under Nelson from six yards.
Cody McDonald and Nouble combined with great interplay that ended with a shot on goal on the half-hour mark, but the latter couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball to bend in to the far corner, and Ben Alnwick comfortably saved.
McDonald dragged a shot inches wide as the Gills looked to get back in the game before the break, but it was Wanderers who nearly added another. Ameobi’s volley was saved by Nelson, and the ball came to Clough, who finished, but was ruled offside by the linesman.
The Gills started the second-half the brighter of the two sides, controlling the game with plenty of possession in the first 10 minutes, but were unable to find that killer ball in the final third to get back into the match.
Jake Hessethaler crossed for McDonald on the hour-mark, following a perfectly-weighted pass from Emmanuel-Thomas, but the striker couldn’t loop the header over Alnwick in the Wanderers goal.
Nelson made yet another great stop on his landmark appearance with 63 minutes played, beating away Bolton captain Jay Spearing’s swerving shot.
Spearing provided his team’s third goal of the night just two minutes later from a free-kick, following Josh Wright’s foul on Andrew Taylor. Madine rose highest from the set-piece to nod in his second goal of the night from just six-yards.
Substitute Chris Taylor could have scored within minutes of replacing Clough on 70 minutes, but Nelson commanded his area to make the angle difficult, diving low to make the crucial save.
McDonald, Emmanuel-Thomas and Hessenthaler combined once again on 72 minutes, but the latter’s shot from 20-yards was comfortably saved by the Bolton stopper.
The Gills kept Ameobi quiet for most of the second-half, but the winger capped off a great performance with the goal of the night with just 10 minutes remaining. The former-Newcastle man picked up the ball on the right, cut inside on to his left foot and unleashed a shot that dipped into the top corner to make the score 4-0.
Mark Byrne and Rory Donnelly came on for the visitors as the Gills looked for a consolation goal, but Bolton held on to see the game out and take all three points.
Bolton: Alnwick, Beevers, Vela (Anderson, 88), Spearing, Clough (Taylor, 68), Madine, Taylor, Ameobi (Henry, 83), Wilson, Wheater, Thorpe
Unused subs: Turner, Moxey, Proctor, Osede
Gillingham: Nelson, Ehmer, Wagstaff, Hessenthaler, McDonald, Konchesky, Cargill, Dack (Byrne, 88), Wright, Nouble (Jackson, 60), Emmanuel-Thomas (Donnelly, 84)
Unused subs: Hadler, Oshilaja, Cundle, Stevenson
Referee: Scott Duncan
Attendance: 13,681 (223 away)