OLDHAM ATHLETIC 2-1 GILLINGHAM
The Gills lost 2-1 away to Oldham on a cold and wet afternoon in the North West, despite Doug Loft’s 16th-minute goal giving them lead going into half-time.
The momentum was with the away side going into the second-half, however Justin Edinburgh’s men couldn’t hold on as the Latics ran out winners at the SportsDirect.com Park.
The manager named one change to the side that beat Barnsley last Saturday, with Adam Chicksen replacing John Egan. Edinburgh confirmed that Egan will be out for six to eight weeks with a knee injury and Ryan Jackson is yet to recover from a knock picked up in the Swindon game.
The manager also said that Deji Oshilaja is expected to rejoin the club on loan from Cardiff City this week. He was an unused sub as the Welsh side overcame Brighton in the early kick-off on Saturday.
It was Gills keeper Stuart Nelson who made the first save of the day after a foul on the edge of the box led to an Oldham free-kick in a dangerous position. Daniel Lafferty stepped up and curled the ball over the wall, but the Gills number one was equal to the effort, diving to his right to tip round the post.
The away defence looked solid in the early stages, despite the number of injuries in recent weeks leading to a reshuffle at the back. Oldham were restricted to speculative efforts from outside the area and were not able to trouble Nelson.
On 15 minutes the home defence had trouble dealing with a Bradley Dack corner after a series of headers in the box. The ball eventually rolled out to LOFT, and the captain scored his fourth goal of the season with a 30-yard effort into the keeper’s left-hand corner.
Oldham were playing a lot of long balls in the hope of finding the new front pair of Curtis Main and Aaron Amadi-Holloway, but neither found their way past the back-four.
Just before half-time the home side thought they had beaten the offside trap as Amadi-Holloway found himself one-on-one with Nelson. The linesman put up his flag, but Nelson managed to get down low and stretch out an arm, denying the striker to the delight of the away fans.
The rain continued to pour as both sides started the half looking to attack. The pitch was beginning to deteriorate, making it difficult for the players to control the ball.
The home-side found themselves level on 57 minutes from nothing, as TIMOTHEE DIENG’sflicked-on header beat Nelson to his left and Gills had to start again.
Loft went into the book shortly after the goal for a professional foul on Amadi-Holloway, chasing back after a mis-pass to Wright in the middle of the park. It was the captain at the centre of the action again five minutes later, as a high boot from Liam Kelly forced Loft to be replaced by Jake Hessenthaler.
Gills best effort of the half fell to the in-form Dack. Dominic Samuel’s flick was met by the oncoming midfielder, but his effort was deflected for a corner.
It was straight up the other end for Oldham, and they took the lead on 73 minutes. James Wilson’s cross was met by JONATHAN FORTE, who bundled the ball over the line.
Edinburgh brought on Luke Norris and George Williams to fire up the attack in the final 10 minutes, in place of Samuel and Emmanuel Osadebe.
Oldham had the ball in the back of the net again on 83 minutes from a corner, but the referee judged it to be a foul on the six-yard line in the lead up and the goal was disallowed.
The Gills host Chesterfield at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium next Saturday, before two consecutive away games at Fleetwood and Scunthorpe.
GILLS: Nelson, Garmston, A. Morris, Ehmer, Chicksen, Loft (Hessenthaler, 67), Osadebe (Williams, 79), Wright, Dack, Samuel (Norris, 79), Donnelly
SUBS: G. Morris, Norris, Dickenson, List, Dickinson
OLDHAM: Coleman, Dieng, Wilson, Kelly, Amadi-Holloway (Murphy, 79), Forte, Palmer, Gerrard, Main, Lafferty, Dummigan (Winchester, 75)
SUBS: Cornell, Brown, Mills, Croft, Cassidy
ATTENDANCE: 3,874 (279 away)
REFEREE: Mr David Coote