Two late first-half goals help Portsmouth to a 4-0 win over Gills at Fratton Park.
Gillingham suffered a 4-0 defeat against Portsmouth in the first group stage fixture of the Checkatrade Trophy at Fratton Park on Tuesday night.
Matt Clarke’s header gave the hosts the advantage on 41 minutes before Ben Close added a second within 90 seconds of the restart to put Portsmouth in a positive position at the interval.
Brett Pitman added a third from the penalty spot early in the second half, and from there on in Gills rarely threatened as the hosts comfortably secured victory, and their dominance produced a fourth goal in the 90th minute with David Wheeler sliding in to convert from a few yards.
Both sides named ten changes for the game with Elliott List the only survivor from the Gills side that lost to Barnsley 2-1 at the weekend. Bradley Stevenson made his first start for the club with on loan Connor Ogilvie partnering Alex Lacey in the centre of defence.
Miquel Scarlett, Henry Woods and Ben Chapman were named on the subs bench.
Both sides pressed from the front early on but it was Gillingham who created the first opening on the seven minute mark. Nasseri managed to find a yard of space and as Pompey defenders closed him down it opened the door for Wilkinson; the ball was played into his path but from 20 yards his left footed effort was dragged wide.
Three minutes later and the home side were awarded a free-kick 25 yards from goal; Brett Pitman struck it well and hit the crossbar with Hadler at full stretch.
Another set piece, this time at the other end, was headed back across goal by Lacey and Stevenson was just unable to make the contact needed to force McGee into a save.
Nasseri’s first time shot from 25 yards was comfortably saved by McGee before Andre Green found space to drive into as the Gills defence retreated; he went for the bottom corner but dragged his shot wide with Hadler untroubled.
Gillingham had half a shout for a penalty on 27 minutes when List was brought down by McGee. The keeper took a risk having come out of his goal and although the contact was sufficient, the referee felt it didn’t warrant a spot kick.
As the half was drawing to a close Portsmouth scored twice in a matter of minutes. Firstly, a corner from the right was headed home by Matt Clarke as Hadler did his best to make his way through a number of bodies to make contact, before Ben Close side footed an effort home from the edge of the box as Nathan Thompson found space on the right to feed his team-mate for a shot on goal.
Within a minute of the restart and Stevenson had to be quick on his feet to make a tackle inside his own penalty area to prevent a potential third goal. From the resulting counter attack the midfielder scampered free on the left wing, got himself to the edge of the opposition box before firing wide.
Brett Pitman was caught offside on 51 minutes; the flag sparing his blushes having missed the target from just a few yards.
However, the decisive third goal finally did come on 55 minutes. Aaron Simpson was deemed to have committed a foul inside the penalty area, his shoulder to shoulder on an opposition player considered too aggressive. Pitman stepped up and blasted his penalty beyond Hadler.
The Gills keeper made a top save a few minutes later as Andre Green attempted to bag a fourth Portsmouth goal. However, the stopper made himself big and blocked the shot before grabbing the loose ball.
Portsmouth hadn’t declared at three goals and with 10 minutes to go it looked like they would get a fourth. Wheeler worked his way into the box and somehow got the ball beyond Lacey; Hadler came out to narrow the gap and made an excellent save.
However, Wheeler finally did get his name on the scoresheet in the last minute of normal time when a shot on the edge of the box was deflected and the ball fell into the path of the midfielder who slid in to convert from a few yards out
Portsmouth: McGee, Rose, Clarke, Burgess, Pitman, Thompson, Wheeler, May (Mason 62), Close, Green, Haunstrup.
Unused subs: MacGillivray, Brown, Naylor, Lowe, Evans, Thompson.
Gills: Hadler, O’Neill, Lacey (Scarlett 80), Ogilvie, Simpson, Oldaker, Stevenson, Nasseri, Rees (Chapman 62), Wilkinson, List (Nash 65).
Unused subs: Holy, Woods, Mbo.
Referee: Mr A Young
Attendance: 2011 (69 Gills)