First minute strike proves enough for Gills at the Belmont.
An early goal from trialist Daniel Derbyshire proved enough for a young Gills side to prevail 1-0 against Whitstable Town at the Belmont on Tuesday evening.
The forward struck within the opening couple of minutes to give the visitors the advantage, but despite creating several chances to extend their lead, just one goal separated the sides at the break with Miguel Scarlett having a penalty saved in the process.
Jack Tucker and Ryan Huckle drew particular praise from Ben White for their performances against a physical Whitstable side, and Louie Catherall had to be alert on a number of occasions to thwart a potential equaliser.
Noel Mbo had opportunities, as did Leroy Hlabi, but the score remained 1-0 until the final whistle.
Ben White said: “The result isn’t the most important thing but the scoreline didn’t reflect how the game was. I thought we dominated it for long spells and there were some good individual performances.
“I thought Jack Tucker and Ryan Huckle were excellent at the back against a very physical and streetwise Whitstable team. They posed a different challenge; from a psychological point of view they were quite gritty and we had to deal with that, which we did. We played our Football, competed with them and the stand outs were Ryan and Jack.
“We want to be able to offer the lads a varied games programme which pose different kinds of tests. Whitstable had a game plan, they have a way of doing things and like to unsettle opposition which is fine; we need to embrace that challenge and deal with it, and we did, which was pleasing.”
Whitstable: Dan Eason, Kyran Connolly, James Webb, Stuart West, Teddy Nelson, Tom Bryant, Dan Stubbs (Josh Spencer 77), James Morrish (c) (Rhys Brain 80), Ricky Freeman, George Goodwin (Nathan Hardwick 73), Jordan Wright (Chris Saunders 73).
Subs (unused): John Walker, Mark Sipton.
Gills: Catherall, Scarlett, Huckle, Tucker, Morrell, Oldaker, Chapman, Woods, Brown, Derbyshire, Mbo.
Subs: Leroy Hlabi, Roman Campbell, TJ Bramble, Charles Noyelle, Emmanuel Yeboah.
Referee: Mr I Searle