Gills secure victory in midweek friendly.
Conor Wilkinson scored twice as Gillingham came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory over Folkestone Invicta at the Fullicks Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Folkestone went a goal up in the first half with Josh Vincent’s header beating Tom Hadler, but two Conor Wilkinson strikes gave Gills the advantage at half-time.
Wilkinson had a chance to secure his hat-trick but was denied courtesy of an excellent save from the goalkeeper from the penalty spot in the dying moments.
Steve Lovell named a strong side with Wilkinson, Elliott List, Scott Wagstaff and Ben Nugent all included in the starting XI. Finn O’Mara also played just a week or so after returning from a loan spell at Folkestone. He was also named captain.
There was a familiar name on the opposition teamsheet with Callum Davies lining up in the centre of defence.
Both sides had half chances early on but Hadler thwarted a Folkestone effort before Rhys Murphy headed a Scott Wagstaff cross onto the bar before the latter saw another delivery headed into the arms of the stopper by Connor Ogilvie.
Moments later and Folkestone took the lead when a cross from the right was headed beyond Hadler by right-back Josh Vincent who found time and space to bury his opportunity.
Wagstaff saw an effort clear the bar a minute or so following the restart before List shot wide from 18 yards after beating two defenders on the left wing. Liam Nash was next to go close, on the left side of the box he drilled an effort across the keeper but missed the target by a couple of yards before Roberts denied Wilkinson with an excellent save with the striker well placed to find the target from 12 yards.
On 31 minutes however the Gills finally did get the goal their pressure deserved. Wagstaff put pressure on Roberts who missed his clearance, the midfielder did enough to win the ball and then pull it back for Wilkinson who applied a neat finish from close range.
Ogilvie went close to putting the visitors ahead a couple of minutes later when his shot on the turn from 18 yards went narrowly wide of the post with Roberts struggling to get across.
Gills dominated proceedings up until half-time and got their reward just before the whistle. Wilkinson’s shot from the edge of the box took a huge deflection before nestling in the back of the net.
Ben Chapman replaced Wagstaff at the break as Gills continued to test the Folkestone defence, however Hadler was required in the early stages to make a good save inside the box before Roberts comfortably dealt with a Navid Nasseri strike from 20 yards.
Hadler made a top drawer save to deny Sam Hasler an equaliser as his free-kick was tipped away by the Gills stopper. Moments later and Nash was denied by Roberts at the other end before a second effort was blocked by a recovering defender.
Just before the hour mark List was denied from close range when Nash’s pin point cross was headed into the hands of the Folkestone number one before the striker was denied inside the box when Ogilvie’s initial effort was blocked.
Both sides made a number of changes but Gills remained the more dangerous of the two teams. Wilkinson headed narrowly wide on 84 minutes before Bradley Stevenson, on for Moussa, missed the target from 18 yards.
As the clock ticked down Wilkinson was fouled inside the box, the striker stayed on his feet before seeing his eventual shot saved by the recovering keeper. The referee pulled the play back, awarded the penalty which the goalkeeper did well to tip onto the bar, denying Conor his hat-trick.
Gillingham: Hadler (Catherall 72), O’Mara, Nugent, Ogilvie, Moussa (Stevenson 68), Nasseri, Wagstaff (Chapman 46), Nash, Wilkinson, List (Trialist A 67), Murphy (Mbo 72)
Unused subs: Trialist B.