CHARLTON 3-0 GILLINGHAM: MATCH REPORT
Gillingham suffered a heavy defeat on Easter Monday as Charlton put three past the visitors, who were backed by magnificent 2,185 away fans.
Charlton found themselves two goals ahead at the half-time interval after Jason Pearce headed in a corner and Ricky Holmes curled a 25-yard free-kick in off the post to double the Addicks’ lead. Josh Magennis rifled home from close range early on in the second half and the Gills were unable to find a way through despite creating a number of chances.
Results elsewhere saw the Gills remain in 18th place in Sky Bet League One with two games of the campaign left to play.
Gillingham Head Coach Ady Pennock made just one change for the trip to The Valley as Bradley Dack returned from suspension to replace the injured Mark Byrne. Josh Wright continued in the advanced midfield role with Dack slotting in alongside Jake Hessenthaler in the Gills midfield as Pennock retained the 3-4-1-2 formation.
The away side had the first chance of the game as Lee Martin slipped Cody McDonald in down the right-hand side of the box following a dangerous run, but the Gills frontman fired into the side netting.
Charlton went close soon after when Jay Da Silva was allowed too much time to deliver a cross from the left touchline but Jake Forster-Caskey could only guide his header wide despite being left unmarked at the far post.
The Gills were looking confident in the early stages with a Martin corner and a Ryan Jackson long throw causing trouble for the Addick’s defence in quick succession.
However, the home side managed to exert a spell of pressure on the Gills defence with Dack and Hessenthaler denying Charlton shots from the edge of the box to repel their early attacks.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Pearce rose highest from a Holmes corner to power home a header between the legs of Tomas Holy and give Charlton the lead.
Deji Oshilaja tested Declan Rudd for the first time as Gillingham looked to bounce back but his effort from the edge of the area lacked the pace to trouble him, after Martin had put in a brilliant cross that evaded everybody from the right.
Holy had to be alert as Magennis struck a free-kick from 30 yards that flicked off the top of the wall but the goal-keeper quickly readjusted to claim the ball. A barnstorming Da Silva run from left-back then brought Charlton a free-kick slightly closer to goal which Holmes curled perfectly into the bottom-left corner, giving Holy no chance on 31 minutes.
The Gills again fought back with Wright and Harry Cornick seeing shots blocked before McDonald collected the ball beautifully inside the box, but he couldn’t divert the ball towards goal off-balance and Rudd collected.
Joe Quigley threatened the Charlton goal after 43 minutes as he rose highest in the box to get his head on another good Martin cross, but on the stretch he diverted his attempt just wide of goal with McDonald also challenging for the ball.
Gillingham continued to press into the two additional minutes of added time but the Addicks held firm to go into the break two goals to the good.
H/T: 2 – 0
Pennock reacted to the half time deficit by bringing on Rory Donnelly and Josh Parker in place of Quigley and Cornick, with the Gills looking to bolster their attacking options for the second period.
The Gills were looking lively in the early segments with Martin in particular, posing a threat down the flanks. Parker won Gillingham a free-kick on the apex of the box but Martin’s whipped delivery was claimed by the keeper.
Charlton extended their lead through Magennis who collected the ball on the edge of the six-yard box and rifled past Holy after Ezri Konsa beat Jackson, got to the by-line and cut the ball back for the Northern Irish striker with 54 minutes gone.
Despite the early set-back, Gillingham continued to press and Donnelly found space in the box but could only curl over. At the other end Holmes stung the palms of Holy who did well to deny the winger. Dack then had another effort blocked by a defender in red as Donnelly did brilliantly well to flick the ball on.
With the Gills throwing everything at Charlton, gaps were appearing and the game opened up. Forster-Caskey attempted an optimistic scorpion kick but got it all wrong with the ball bobbling harmlessly wide before Magennis curled just wide from the edge of the box.
Gillingham had a golden chance to get a goal back as Parker surged into the box and his cross was deflected to McDonald at the back post, but he got the ball caught under his feet and then Martin blasted over from the pull-back.
A Jackson long-throw then caused carnage in the box but somehow the ball refused to hit the back of the net and then Donnelly headed over from Dack’s cross as the ball was recycled. Parker then did brilliantly to win a free-kick on the edge of the area but Dack fired over the bar and into the Gills fans packed into the Jimmy Seed Stand.
The visitors continued to throw the kitchen sink at Charlton as Donnelly fired in a fantastic free-kick from thirty yards that Rudd could only parry back into the penalty area, however the Gills were again somehow denied as the Addicks threw themselves at the ball and the referee waved away claims for a penalty as Dack looked to be pulled back.
Gillingham pressed forward valiantly as the minutes ticked away but were unable to find a consolation goal with Charlton taking all three points in a disappointing afternoon for the visitors.
F/T: 3 – 0
The Gills are back at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon when they take on Fleetwood Town in the last home game of the season.
Charlton Athletic: Rudd; Byrne, Bauer, Pearce, Konsa (Jackson, 80); Da Silva, Holmes, Crofts, Forster-Caskey (Aribo, 88), Botaka (Ahearne-Grant, 75); Magennis
Unused subs: Phillips (GK), Teixeira, Watt, Ulvestad
Gillingham: Holy; Cornick (Parker, 45), Jackson, Ehmer, Oshilaja, Martin (Osadebe, 82); Wright, Hessenthaler, Dack; McDonald, Quigley (Donnelly, 45)
Unused subs: Nelson (GK), Herd, Rehman, Muldoon
Attendance: 12,449 (2,185)
Referee: Brett Huxtable