Hosts put in positive performance to see off Championship Charlton at Priestfield.
Goals from Stuart O’Keefe, Mikael Ndjoli and Elliott List ensured Gillingham started their double header at Priestfield in style as they defeated Championship side Charlton Athletic 3-1 on Saturday afternoon.
Saturday’s win was the first of two games at Priestfield this weekend, with Millwall coming to Kent on Sunday afternoon, and Steve Evans would have been pleased with his side’s performance against the side that won the League One play-off final last term.
On a blustery but warm day in Kent, the first chance of the game fell to the visitors. After a number of ricochets in the box the ball dropped to Darren Pratley, but the midfielder blazed into the Rainham End.
Gillingham took the lead in the 11th minute through Stuart O’Keefe. Neat build up down the Gills right hand side involving Regan Charles-Cook and Nathan Thomas saw the latter feed O’Keefe who took a touch before finishing low in to the bottom corner from the edge of the box. 1-0.
Charlton shaded the opening exchanges but for fifteen minutes after the goal, Gills were the side in the ascendancy. Crosses going across the face of goal and a high press, although Dillon Phillips wasn’t forced into a save of note.
In the 25th minute Gillingham could have doubled their lead, but a Mikael Ndjoli shot went the wrong side of the post. The chance came about from a brilliant flick-on from Brandon Hanlan, which set the on loan Bournemouth player away but off balance, he shot wide.
Charlton’s next chance of the half came just before the half hour mark. A free-kick 20 yards out presented Lyle Taylor with the chance to try his luck, but Jack Bonham was a match to the strike and palmed the effort away to his left.
The next free-kick brought an equaliser with Charlton levelling just before the half-time whistle. Nabby Sarr smashed his free-kick against the post and Aneke was there on the follow up to smash high in to the net, Bonham was left with no chance in the Gills goal. 1-1.
The first chance of the second half went the way of Charlton, although a header from Aneke went agonisingly past the post following a corner from the right hand side.
Gills restored their lead just seven minutes in to the second half, Brandon Hanlan flicked the ball forward to the lively Ndjoli and the forward continued his good pre-season from by slotting the ball beyond Phillips. 2-1.
Just after the hour mark, the Gills rung the changes with Barry Fuller, Bradley Garmston and Jack Bonham the only players to remain on the pitch.
After the changes, the game struggled to find any pattern although the pace of Elliott List up top meant Gillingham were always going to cause problems.
Gillingham added a third goal just before the whistle, and it all came from some individual brilliance from List. The forward intercepted the ball on the half way line and drove at the Charlton backline, brushing past a couple of defenders before firing low in to the far corner. 3-1.
Gillingham: Bonham (90 mins), Fuller (83 mins), Jones, Ehmer, Garmston (83 minutes), O’Keefe, Cisse, Thomas, Charles-Cook, Hanlan, Ndjoli.
Gillingham Subs at 60 mins: Oldaker, Reilly, List, Ogilvie, Byrne, Woods,Tucker, Trialist. Allen (83)
Charlton: Phillips; Lockyer, Pearce, Sarr; Dijksteel, Pratley, Aneke (Lapslie 54), Morgan, Page (Williams 13, Dempsey 73); Taylor (Doughty 75), Bonne
Subs (not used): Amos, Maloney, Wiredu
Referee: Mr Chris Pollard
Pictures: Kent Pro Images