Report | Portsmouth 0-2 Gillingham

Eaves scores a world-class goal as Gills record win at Pompey.

A fantastic team performance ensured the Gills left Fratton Park with all three points on Saturday afternoon.

A magnificent individual goal from Tom Eaves set the away side on their way to an unlikely 2-0 win.

Steve Lovell made two changes to the side that drew 2-2 at Shrewsbury as Barry Fuller and Tom Eaves replaced Bradley Garmston and Josh Parker.

Alex Lacey continued in his role as a holding midfielder, whilst Dean Parrett played behind the strikers as Gillingham again played with a diamond shaped midfield.

Portsmouth started the game with the majority of the possession as they looked to play their way through the defence, whilst the Gills relied on the hold-up play of Tom Eaves and Brandon Hanlan to bring others into the game.

It was the visitors who had the first clear chance of the game as Luke O’Neill tested Pompey goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray from the edge of the area in the sixth minute.

In the opening fifteen minutes Portsmouth failed to create any chances of note as Tomas Holy remained untroubled, only having to pluck a few crosses from the air.

The quick passing build-up of the hosts won them a corner and from that resulting corner they came close to taking the lead. As Holy punched the corner clear, the ball landed to Brett Pitman whose volleyed effort towards goal was bravely blocked by Eaves.

Shortly after, in the 27th minute, the Gills broke the deadlock with a beautiful volleyed goal from Eaves.

A long ball from Luke O’Neill was headed down by Max Ehmer whose header landed to the feet of Eaves. He flicked it onto his chest, then over the defender and followed it up with an emphatic left footed volley into the top corner.

Following the goal Eaves continued to cause issues as his tidy footwork beat three Pompey defenders, yet the attack led to a counter attack for the home side.

It ended with Gabriel Zakuani blocking Gareth Evans’ effort and from the resulting corner they failed to beat the first man as the attack petered out.

Just before half-time, Pompey came close to levelling things. Ronan Curtis drove into the penalty area and as he found some space he tried curling an effort into the bottom corner. Fortunately for Steve Lovell’s side, Barry Fuller was on hand to clear the effort out for a corner.

Into stoppage time, the Gills doubled their lead and were rewarded for their fantastic first-half efforts. Dean Parrett’s low corner evaded everybody in the penalty area until the oncoming Alex Lacey thumped the ball into the top corner, giving MacGillivay no chance.

Half-Time: Portsmouth 0-2 Gillingham

Following the break the hosts made two changes as they brought on David Wheeler and Ben Thompson on for Ben Close and Gareth Evans.

The substitutions sparked them into some life as they began to cause the Gills some issues inside the penalty area. Once again, the visiting defence had to rely on multiple blocks from Zakuani and Ehmer to divert the trouble.

In the 50th minute Lowe forced Holy into his first save as he palmed away the low effort towards Fuller who put the ball out of play.

Down the other end Parrett’s attempted pass through to Eaves almost fell to Hanlan. Unfortunately the bounce did not sit up for him as Portsmouth dealt with the danger.

Just short of the hour Pitman had a great opportunity to bring Portsmouth back into the game. He was picked out by Lowe at the back post but his header was just wide of the far post.

The attacks continued towards the Gills goal and from a short corner by the touchline Lee Brown put a cross into the back post and before anyone could latch onto it, Mark Byrne headed the ball out for a corner.

Ronan Curtis was the next player to test Holy’s goal, and this time it forced a save. He found some space on the edge of the area, however, his curling shot was parried wide.

With 15 minutes to go Pompey were in complete dominance of the game but a resolute Gills defence continued to push away any danger.

The Gills had a heart in mouth moment in the 78th minute as a cross towards the back post was met by the oncoming Pitman. His header across the goal evaded everyone as Fuller again put the ball out for a throw in.

Heading towards the final six minutes, sub Oli Hawkins almost worked his way into the penalty area, but he was prevented by an excellent sliding tackle by Zakuani. The ball eventually fell to Lowe whose shot from distance went over.

As the game headed towards stoppage time Gillingham were in search of a third as Eaves’ shot at the near post was palmed wide by MacGillivray.

Down the other end Portsmouth almost managed to claw a goal back as the ball fell kindly to Pitman, his effort was met by a goal saving block with Ehmer.

As four minutes of stoppage time was announced, Curtis was denied by a magnificent Holy save.

He again found space, this time inside the visitors penalty area and tried a looping effort over Holy’s head. The Czech goalkeeper was on hand to push the ball wide of the post.

The game ended 2-0 as the Gills thoroughly deserved all three points thanks to a magnificent display from all areas of the pitch.

Full-Time- Portsmouth 0-2 Gillingham


Portsmouth: Craig MacGillivray; Nathan Thompson (Oli Hawkins 74), 20 Jack Whatmough 16, Matt Clarke 5, Lee Brown 3; Ben Close (Ben Thompson 46), Tom Naylor, Jamal Lowe, Ronan Curtis, Gareth Evans (David Wheeler 46); Brett Pitman

Subs: Luke McGee, Christian Burgess, Anton Walkes, Joe Mason

Gillingham: Tomas Holy; Luke O’Neill, Max Ehmer, Gabriel Zakuani, Barry Fuller; Alex Lacey, Dean Parrett, Mark Byrne, Callum Reilly; Brandon Hanlan (Elliott List, 80), Tom Eaves

Subs: Tom Hadler, Garmston, Aaron Simpson, Rees, List, Nasseri, Parker