Gills slip to narrow defeat at Bradford.
Dominic Poleon’s early second half strike saw Gillingham defeated 1-0 at Valley Parade on Saturday afternoon.
In one of the hosts only real opportunities the striker beat keeper Tomas Holy low to his right hand side, and although Gills performance was strong, they couldn’t find a way past Colin Doyle to secure a point.
Steve Lovell made two changes to the side that beat Portsmouth 3-1 a fortnight ago with Bradley Garmston and Conor Wilkinson coming in for Tom Eaves and Josh Parker, the latter unavailable due to being away on international duty.
Liam Nash returned to the subs bench with Navid Nasseri and Connor Ogilvie providing other options.
Gillingham started the better of the two teams in terms of possession but the Bradford defence stood firm to prevent a couple of loose balls being pounced upon by Max Ehmer and Lee Martin.
Wilkinson looked very impressive early on and nearly scored another classy individual goal. He scampered away from two defenders, sprinted into the Bradford box but saw his powerful effort blocked by a recovering Bradford player.
Callum Guy had an effort blocked by Reilly before the make shift left-back pulled the trigger from 20 yards, sending his shot narrowly over the bar with Doyle a few yards off his line. McMahon struck wide from a free-kick before Wilkinson’s header, from Martin’s free-kick on 35 minutes, was brilliantly saved by Colin Doyle.
A couple of minutes later Martin found space to take advantage of Garmston’s quick throw. The Captain found Wagstaff on the right who cut inside and placed an effort over from 20 yards. Waggy was on hand just moments later when Garmston found space on the left, awaited the arrival of the former Bristol City man but despite having time and space he failed to test Doyle between the sticks.
As the half approached its end, Gills felt they should have had a penalty when Wilkinson was pushed over inside the box by Knight-Percival. Steve Lovell and Scott Wagstaff appealed but the referee wasn’t moved before Ogilvie replaced the injured Reilly.
With just a couple of minutes gone in the second half Bradford seized the initiative and got themselves a goal in front. Gills lost out in the midfield following a couple of 50/50 balls; Bradford worked the ball to Poleon who had time and space on the edge of the box to drive an effort beyond Holy and into the corner.
Guy tried to clinch a quick second goal but his shot from a similar distance was comfortably dealt with by Tomas Holy.
Bradford by now had the momentum and Gillingham struggled to come to terms with going behind and a change was made on 67 minutes with Eaves replacing Mark Byrne.
The hosts also made a change with Kai Bruenker replacing Shay McCartan and it was the sub who nearly found a way through for a decisive second goal, however his low drive inside the box with 15 minutes to go was comfortable for the Gills keeper.
At the other end Eaves forced Doyle into a save; the keeper spilled the 25-yard effort but was up quickly to prevent Wilkinson from tapping home the rebound.
Gills threw everything at the game in the closing moments with Wilkinson’s free-kick deflected behind for a corner, from which Eaves couldn’t take advantage of a loose ball at the back post. Martin also went close in the dying seconds but Bradford held out for victory.
Bradford: Doyle, Kilgallon, Vincelot, Law (Devine 84), Poleon (Patrick 89), McCartan (Bruenker 72), Warnock, Gilliead, Guy, Knight-Percival, McMahon.
Unused subs: Raeder, Dieng, Taylor, Grodowski.
Gills: Holy, O’Neill, Ehmer, Zakuani, Reilly (Ogilvie 44), Byrne (Eaves 67), Hessenthaler (Nash 87), Garmston, Wagstaff, Martin, Wilkinson.
Unused subs: Hadler, Nugent, Moussa, Nasseri
Attendance: 19654 (298 Gills)
Referee: Mr R Joyce