Tom Eaves bags a brace as Gills clinch all three points for second successive home win.
Gills romped to a 3-0 victory against Fleetwood Town at the Medway Priestfield Stadium on Saturday as Tom Eaves moved to the top of the league’s scoring charts with another brace.
Brandon Hanlan gave the Gills the lead early on as he latched on to a poor back-pass before going past the keeper and sliding the ball into the empty net. Eaves doubled the advantage soon after controlling Darren Oldaker’s wonderful, pinpoint crossfield ball and firing home.
Fleetwood came out all guns blazing after the break and hit the post but a great team move ended with Eaves heading home from Connor Ogilvie’s cross to the put the game beyond doubt in another happy afternoon for the Gills faithful.
Gillingham Manager Steve Lovell named an unchanged starting line-up with Oldaker keeping his spot at the base of the diamond after an impressive performance against Bradford while Aaron Simpson was a late inclusion on the bench due to Alex Lacey picking up an injury in the warm up.
The game kicked off after a minute’s applause in solidarity with Leicester City and an impeccably observed one minute silence to mark the centenary of Armistice Day.
Fleetwood started the brighter of the two teams with Max Ehmer having to be alert to make a good block in the opening five minutes when the ball bounced to Wes Burns in the Gillingham box.
After ten minutes the Gills were in front when BRANDON HANLAN latched on to an under-hit back pass before rounding the keeper and slotting into the empty net.
Soon after a miscommunication in the Fleetwood defence allowed Eaves to race onto a loose ball and drive towards goal but his shot was deflected behind for a corner.
After 17 minutes, the Gills doubled their lead when Oldaker drilled a brilliant diagonal ball which found TOM EAVES, who controlled the pass before slotting past Cairns for his tenth league goal of the campaign.
Just after twenty minutes a great ball down the right flank released Regan Charles-Cook who crossed early for Hanlan. The striker was unable to get a clean contact with the ball dropping to Eaves and his goal bound drive was brilliantly blocked.
The visitors were struggling to create anything against a resolute defence – Evans did manage to release Wallace inside the penalty area but Tomas Holy claimed his cross from the by-line.
Charles-Cook, after opening his account for the club last weekend, was looking lively and tried his luck from 30 yards but his low effort scooted narrowly wide of the post.
As half-time approached Fleetwood were looking more dangerous with Ehmer getting a crucial touch on an Evans shot to deflect it wide of the goal.
The Gills saw out the remainder of the half in relative comfort to take a two goal lead into the break.
H/T: 2 – 0
Lovell made a change at the break with Connor Ogilvie replacing Billy Bingham who appeared to have picked up a knock during the opening period.
The visitors started brightly with Ehmer getting a head to Evans’ shot taking it painfully close to the goal, but deflected inches wide of the post with Holy completely wrong-footed.
Two long range efforts and a tame header were catching practise for Holy soon after with Fleetwood pressing to get back into the game.
Seven minutes into the half, the Gills had a huge let off when Morgan rose highest at a corner but saw his header bounce off the inside of the post and Eaves hacked clear with Burns lurking. Sub Madden then flicked a header just wide from a decent cross delivered from the left.
However, the Gills had their third of the game as they broke clear through some great hold up play from Eaves. Charles-Cook then drove forward before sliding in Ogilvie down the left and TOM EAVES headed home to cap off a superb move.
That goal had put the Gills firmly in the driving seat and Fleetwood appeared visibly deflated. Elliott List came on for Hanlan as Lovell looked to utilise his pace on the counter.
The closest the Gills came to another goal was an Oldaker shot from 25 yards that cleared the bar in what had been another impressive game from the youngster.
Lovell introduced Dean Parrett with a quarter of an hour to go, and the midfielder had a great chance to open the scoring with his first touch as a great chipped ball from Luke O’Neill found him in space but with the ball bouncing horribly he couldn’t get enough power on the ball to trouble the keeper.
Evans had looked the most likely Fleetwood player to trouble the Gills all afternoon and when he found himself in a pocket 25 yards from goal he took aim but blazed into the Town End.
Madden then nearly scored a spectacular goal for Fleetwood as, with seemingly nothing on, he span and shot from 35 yards, lobbing Holy but his effort bounced off the post and away to safety. Ehmer then did brilliantly to get back and deny Madden as he raced through on goal following a cute flick on from Evans.
Eaves nearly claimed his hat-trick as the Gills counter attacked with five minutes left and List found him in space but a defender got back to make a block and take the sting out of the ball allowing Cairns to make a simple save.
Madden then missed a sitter in the final minute of normal time as a one-two with Evans ended with the former cutting the ball back across goal but with the goal gaping Madden blazed over.
That was the final action of the game with the Gills running out deserved victors.
F/T: 3 – 0
Gillingham are in midweek action against Blackpool at the Medway Priestfield Stadium on Tuesday evening as they look to make it three wins on the bounce at home.
Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Zakuani, Ehmer, Fuller; Oldaker, Byrne, Bingham (Ogilvie, 46), Charles-Cook (Parrett, 75); Eaves, Hanlan (List, 68)
Unused subs: Hadler (GK), Simpson, Nasseri, Parker
Fleetwood Town: Cairns; Coyle, Eastham, Morgan, Husband (Madden, 33); Sheron, Holt (Dempse7, 68), Hunter, Wallace; Burns (Long, 66), Evans
Unused subs: Jones (GK), Bolger, Jones, Biggins
Referee: Mr Charles Breakspear