Victory for Gills at Dartford.
Gillingham faced their toughest test of pre-season as they made the short trip to Dartford on Tuesday evening but came out 2-1 winners on a sweltering night thanks to goals from Elliott List and Mark Byrne.
The first real chance of the game fell the way of List. Regan Charles-Cook was denied by a superb late tackle but List was there to pounce quickly and latch on to the ball. However, the forward was denied by a smart stop from Mark Smith in the Darts goal.
The forward wasn’t to be denied for long though. From the resulting corner, List was to get the better of Smith and gave the Gills the lead in style. The corner was cleared to the edge of the box, where the forward was unmarked and his half volley from 25 yards flew in to the corner. 0-1.
After 20 minutes Jack Bonham was called in to action, not once but twice. Both times a trialist for Dartford was played into a tight angle but both times Bonham stood big to deny the forward, the second save a great stop down to his right.
Bonham was called on again soon after; the ball fell kindly to Luke Wanadio on the edge of the box but despite a crisp connection Bonham again was there to keep the Gills ahead.
Dartford were to get a deserved leveller just after the half hour mark, when a flick on from Wanadio found the trialist and he converted in to the bottom corner to leave Bonham with no chance. 1-1.
Gills responded almost immediately though, another corner from Charles-Cook found Ehmer unmarked in the box and he headed goalbound. Mark Byrne seemed to claim the goal, although it was hard to tell from the press box. Either way, Gills were back in front! 1-2.
Gillingham had far more control in the second period and started to assert their dominance from the whistle with Charles-Cook shooting wide before a Max Ehmer strike was blocked over the bar. Had it not been, it would have surely ended up in the back of the net.
Just moments later and a Mark Byrne cross to the back post fell invitingly for the Gills trialist at the back-post but his header fell the wrong side of the post a it remained 2-1 to the Gills.
On the hour mark it was all change for the visitors as Steve Evans looked to build more minutes in to his players legs ahead of the league opener at Doncaster. Mikael Ndjoli was one of the players introduced to the action and he immediately looked to threaten, but he shot wide from the edge of the box.
A couple of chances went wide for the hosts as the game ebbed towards the final whistle, with Dartford starting to ring the changes.
Next up for the first team is a double header at Priestfield with Charlton and Millwall visiting ME7 in consecutive games this Saturday and Sunday respectively as Steve Evans’ side face their toughest test.
Gills: Bonham, Hodson (45 Mins), Fuller, O’Keefe, Ehmer, Ogilvie, Byrne, Cisse, Trialist, Charles-Cook, List
Subs after 60 mins: Walsh, Woods, Jones (45 mins), Tucker, Garmston, Ndjoli, Thomas, Willock, Oldaker, Reilly, Hanlan, Campbell.
Referee: Charles Breakspear