Gills put in professional performance to overcome young Bolton side at Priestfield.
Gillingham earned their first win of the season on Saturday as they eased past Bolton Wanderers 5-0 at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
New signing Olly Lee scored twice on his debut while further goals from Connor Ogilvie, Brandon Hanlan and an own goal meant Gillingham got off the mark in style. It was Gillingham’s biggest win since returning to League 1 six years ago.
Steve Evans handed debuts to new signings Lee and Tom O’Connor, who both arrived during the week. Matty Willock also made his Gillingham bow, recovering from a hamstring injury which has kept him out of the opening weeks.
The first chance of the game went the way of the Gills. Connor Ogilvie went marauding down the left channel before he was bundled down on the edge of the box; the resulting free-kick was headed wide by the defender. Alfie Jones then headed wide as Gillingham started to put pressure on the Trotter’s defence.
Gillingham took the lead in the 26th minute at a blustery Priestfield. A free-kick from Lee wasn’t cleared properly and Ogilvie was there to react quickest inside the area. Remi Matthews in the Bolton goal was left with no chance. 1-0.
Alex Jakbuiak and Lee were both denied by Matthews in the space of a few minutes as the Gills looked for a second their dominance deserved.
Gillingham did indeed double their lead in the 39th minute. Barry Fuller did well to dig out a cross to the far-post, Mark Byrne arrived and laid off the ball to the lively Lee, who finished low into the bottom corner to mark his second debut, seven years on from his first, with a goal. 2-0.
Bolton’s first chance of the game arrived just before the break. Dennis Politic took a free-kick from 20 yards but his curling effort was tipped away by the stretching Jack Bonham.
Matty Willock was replaced by Mark Marshall at the break, as the new midfielder continued to build fitness. After just five minutes, Brandon Hanlan was released in behind the backline, but the forward blazed over from a tight angle.
Hanlan was to redeem himself just a few moments later. After a ball behind from Tom O’Connor freed Jakubiak, the forward played the ball across the face of goal and Hanlan was there to poke home and extend the advantage for Evans’ side. 3-0.
After Mark Marshall was denied not once but twice, Gillingham added a fourth goal to seal the result. Barry Fuller crossed deep to the back post and Lee was again on hand to finish cooly as Matthews was left with no chance. A second of the game for the loan signing from Hearts. 4-0.
Gills certainly had their tails up and after Alfie Jones had recycled possession, Regan Charles-Cook, on as a substitute, headed over the bar. Charles-Cook then struck a free-kick wide as Gillingham started to wear down a young Bolton side.
It was five soon after, A cross from the lively Marshall found its way to Max Ehmer at the far-post. His cut back seemed to be causing no problems but a deflection from Jordan Boom ended up in the back of the net. 5-0.
Bolton came within inches of a goal the 700 plus traveling fans perhaps deserved. Brockbank crossed from the right-hand side. New signing Jack Hobbs arrived well but his header cannoned back off the crossbar and away from danger.
In truth, it was comfortable for Gillingham. Tougher tests will lie ahead for Steve Evans’ side, but a first win of the season and a first clean sheet of the season means it will be an enjoyable weekend for Gills fans.
Gillingham: Bonham, Fuller, Ogilvie, Ehmer, O’Connor, Jones, Byrne, Lee (Charles-Cook 63), Willock (Marshall 45), Jakubiak, Hanlan (Mandron 79).
Unused subs: Walsh, Hodson, O’Keefe, Ndjoli.
Bolton: Matthews, Lowe, Hobbs (Graham 90), Murphy, Weir, Brockbank, Politic (Senior 85), Darcy, Zouma, Boon, Brown.
Unused subs: Alexander, White, Brown-Sterling, Richards.
Attendance: 5065 (740 away fans)
Referee: Mr Robert Lewis