GILLINGHAM 0-4 BOLTON: MATCH REPORT
Gillingham succumbed to a 4-0 defeat against Bolton Wanderers at the MEMS Priestfield on Tuesday night in Sky Bet League One.
First-half headers from David Wheater, Adam Le Fondre and Mark Beevers gave the visitors an almost unassailable lead at the break, while Josh Vela added a fourth just after the break to complete a miserable evening for the Gills.
Gillingham Head Coach Ady Pennock made several changes for the visit of the Trotters with Ollie Muldoon making his first start since re-joining the Gills while Jake Hessenthaler also started in midfield.
Hat-trick hero Josh Wright served the first game of his two-match suspension while Chris Herd missed out through injury. There was a place on the bench for Noel MBo, on his birthday, after signing a professional contract with the Gills earlier this week.
The home side again fell victim to an early goal as Wheater ghosted round the back of the Gills defence from a corner to nod home the game’s opening goal after just four minutes.
Le Fondre nearly doubled the leader before the ten minute mark as he latched onto a loose, bouncing ball in the box but could only prod a first-time volley over, before Vela dragged a speculative shot wide from outside the box.
The visitors did double their lead after 15 minutes however. Filipe Morais beat his man down the right-flank, before chipping a ball into the box which the unmarked Le Fondre headed in to the back of the net.
Joe Quigley had Gillingham’s first meaningful effort of the game after 20 minutes as he turned smartly on the edge of the box but, on his wrong foot, failed to test the keeper, shooting comfortably over the bar.
The home side had another chance just after the half hour when Cody McDonald was cynically brought down as the Gills looked to counter-attack. Bradley Dack whipped in the ball which the Bolton keeper dropped under pressure, but unfortunately there was no player in a blue shirt at hand to tap home.
Dack did test the keeper just before half-time as he drilled a free-kick powerfully towards the bottom corner from 30 yards, but the Ben Alnwick got across his line well to make the save.
Bolton delivered a killer blow just before the half time whistle as another corner put into a great area by Morais was headed home by Beevers to give the visitors a commanding three-goal lead at the break.
The Gills shot out of the marks in the second half looking to make amends, with McDonald unlucky to be shepherded away from goal after the visiting keeper again failed to gather a cross cleanly, following Deji Oshilaja’s dangerous ball.
However, the visitors grabbed their fourth goal almost immediately as they broke down the right, and a Morais cross was diverted towards goal by Vela, giving Stuart Nelson no chance and killing the game off.
Quigley continued to battle valiantly against the giant Bolton backline and he curled a shot wide of goal as he jinked this way and that, getting the better of Wheater.
Stuart Nelson was doing his best to stop a rampant Bolton strike force and he did brilliantly well to tip over a fierce close range shot from Le Fondre.
The game drifted into a stalemate over the remainder of the match with Bolton happy to sit back and let the Gills hold the bulk of the ball, while the home side desperately looked to get a reward for their efforts. However, often their eagerness to get back into the match was their downfall as they looked for the immediate killer ball on too many occasions and Bolton were able to break.
Josh Parker, on as a substitute, was looking the liveliest of Gillingham’s offensive players as he tussled and worked hard in vain, breaking free from the defence on a number of occasions. Mark Byrne, meanwhile, was named man of the match after excelling the middle of the park, keeping a lid on proceedings when the home side were often outnumbered and outmanoeuvred.
Oshilaja forced a corner in added time after a driving run down the left flank but Zesh Rehman could not divert Dack’s delivery towards goal, and when Elliot List just overran the ball as he looked to get in behind the defence, the referee thankfully blew the final whistle to conclude the proceedings in Kent.
F/T: 0 – 4
Gillingham: Nelson; Muldoon, Oshilaja, Rehman, Ehmer, Martin (Osadebe, 86); Hessenthaler, Byrne, Dack; McDonald (List, 87), Quigley (Parker, 62)
Unused subs: Holy (GK), Dickenson, Cundle, Mbo
Scunthorpe: Alnwick; Dervite, Beevers, Wheater, Taylor; Osede, Taylor, Pratley (Karacan, 71), Morais (Henry, 85); Madine (Clayton, 78), Vela
Unused subs: Howard (GK), Moxey, Trotter, Long
Attendance: 5,199 (517)
Referee: Tim Robinson