Ipswich prevail after scoring late on against Gills.
Gillingham exited the FA Youth Cup at the fourth round stage as Ipswich Town came out on top 2-1 in a tight encounter at Priestfield on Friday night.
After falling behind to an Armando Dobka effort in the first half, Gills responded through a sublime Roman Campbell finish at the beginning of the second half to level the scores, but it was The Tractor Boys who progressed in to round five courtesy of a Kai Brown winner in the 87th minute.
Gillingham had secured their place in the fourth round courtesy of an impressive win at Ewood Park in round three – The Gills winning the tie 2-1 last month. The prize for the winner? A fifth round tie at either Southampton or Watford.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors. Tommy Hughes was slotted through thanks to an incisive through ball, but he blazed his effort from inside the area over the bar, although the assistant soon raised his flag for offside as the Gills set about getting a foot hold in the game.
Despite the early chance for Ipswich, it was the Gills who were looking the more threatening at Priestfield and following a succession of corners they came close to taking the lead when a Roman Campbell lobbed effort narrowly cleared the bar.
Campbell again came close in the 17th minute, a Toby Bancroft diagonal ball found its way to the forward, but he saw his header claimed by Toby Egan in the Town goal.
With 24 minutes played, neat build up down the Ipswich left hand side saw the ball drop to Hughes again, but his low effort was comfortably saved by Joe Walsh in the Gills goal.
Another cross, this time from the right, brought the next chance for the visitors. A driven ball in found its way to Armando Dobka, but the attacker headed straight at Walsh. From a corner just moments later, Bailey Clements felt he was fouled but referee Lee Brennan waved away the protests.
As Ipswich started to get a foothold in the game, they were beginning to create some chances, Hughes again trying his luck but his cheeky attempt at a lob cleared the crossbar much to the relief of the Gills.
The Tractor Boys were beginning to up the tempo in search of an opener in Kent. Firstly, an impressive run from Dobka in the right-hand channel came to nothing, before the forward was played through on goal just moments later, but Walsh again did well to keep the scores level.
After a spell of pressure, Ipswich took the lead just before the interval. A powerful effort from Hughes was pushed away by Walsh but fell invitingly in to the path of Dobka who buried the chance to send the hosts in to the break ahead.
Both sides remained unchanged in the second half with the Gills knowing they had to score to keep their hopes of progressing in the FA Youth Cup alive.
But Ipswich picked up where they left off and tried to add some daylight between themselves and the Gills, but Idris El Mizouni struck over the bar from the edge of the box. At the other end, Toby Bancroft did well to roll his man after a throw in, but his half volley crept past the post.
With Gills starting to build some pressure, the chances started to arrive. Campbell, who was putting himself about up top, was unable to beat Egan after a scrap in the six-yard box, but the striker would level the scores just moments later.
Miguel Scarlett broke through midfield, laid it off to Jimmy Witt on the left wing who delivered a great ball to Campbell at the back post who curled beautifully in to the far corner to draw the Gills level. 1-1 and game on!
It was now anyone’s game at Priestfield as both sides looked dangerous when going forward. For Ipswich, El Mizouni showed good feet to jink past his man but shot narrowly wide of Walsh’s goal.
Ipswich regained the lead in the 87th minute. A free-kick from the edge of the box cannoned back off the bar before falling kindly to Kai Brown who tapped home from close range to give the visitors the lead once again.
With the fourth official indicating there would be seven minutes added on, the Gills went about trying to find a leveller, but despite some late pressure they were unable to find an equaliser as Ipswich progressed to the next round.
Gillingham: Joe Walsh, Miguel Scarlett, Jimmy Witt (Charlie Blanks 81), Tommy Lamb (Harry Laing 87), George Sheminant (Jay Hards 86) Emmanuel Fernandez, Jude Arthurs, TJ Bramble, Roman Campbell, Charles Noyelle, Toby Bancroft.
Unused subs: Charlie Walker (GK), Matt Baker.
Ipswich: Toby Egan, Dylan Crowe (Kian Ronan 64), Tommy Smith, Ryley Scott (Harley Curtis 77), Bailey Clements, Luca Vega, Kai Brown, Idris EL Mizouni, Zak Brown, Armando Dobka, Tommy Hughes (Lounas Foudil 64).
Unused subs: Jake Edwards Alley, Matthew Healy.
Referee: Mr L Brennan