Championship side leave Priestfield with 2-1 win.
Millwall emerged narrow 2-1 winners in Sunday’s pre-season friendly against the Gills at Priestfield.
Jiri Skalak put the visitors a goal up courtesy of an excellent strike from 20 yards, with Gills trialist striker converting a penalty early in the second period. However, Jake Cooper’s header from a corner put the Lions back in front and they preserved their advantage for the rest of the game despite Gillingham’s best efforts.
Steve Evans and Paul Raynor mixed things up for the game and fielded a younger side in comparison to the one that played against Charlton. Joe Walsh started in goal with Jack Tucker and Connor Ogilvie in the heart of defence.
Second year apprentice Ben Allen started on the left side of midfield with Elliott List and Mark Byrne supporting a Trialist striker.
Gills flew out of the blocks and bossed the early proceedings with Callum Reilly stinging the palms of former Bristol City keeper Frank Fielding before Ben Allen narrowly failed to make contact on an excellent ball from Lee Hodson, who was back in the team after being left out as a precaution on Saturday.
Millwall gradually got a foothold on the game and took the lead prior to the 20-minute mark. Skalak latched onto a ball over the top; he let fly from a difficult angle which caught out Walsh and the youngster could do nothing to stop the ball going past him. 0-1.
A few minutes later and Fielding had to be at his very best to preserve Millwall’s slender advantage. A good ball from Oldaker on the right hand side found Tucker in space; his contact was decent enough but Fielding was well placed to make a very strong save.
Walsh prevented the score from being doubled when, low to his right, he palmed clear an effort from Connor Mahoney. The resulting corner was cleared and List scampered away, only for the move to break down before a deflected shot inside the Gills box was, from the point of view of Walsh, gratefully slowed down and no trouble to claim.
The Gills keeper made two strong saves in a matter of seconds from close range before Hodson put his body on the line to prevent a potential second goal.
The hosts weathered a mid-half storm before coming back into the game; an effort from Callum Reilly struck the outside of the right post before a long range effort from Skalak flew comfortably wide of the target.
Gills again started the half well and were given an opportunity to bring the scores level when Trialist was brought down inside the box. The forward took the awarded penalty himself and converted brilliantly to make it 1-1. However, the lead lasted just a few minutes.
Aiden O’Brien had just forced a magnificent stop from Joe Walsh, resulting in a corner, and it was from the set play that Jake Cooper got up highest, unmarked, to convert from six yards.
The hosts continued to play in the same way and Fielding had to be alert on 63 minutes to deny Mark Byrne. List did well on the edge of the penalty area to change his running direction, he spotted the midfielder in space inside the box who tried to lift it over the goalkeeper but Fielding got a vital touch to concede a corner. A loose header gave Ogilvie a sight at goal, his effort deflected into the hands of the Millwall number one.
Tucker was on hand at the other end to deflect a shot from Ryan Leonard for a corner which was well dealt with.
Steve Evans made nine changes shortly after the hour with only Lee Hodson and Joe Walsh staying on the pitch. His alterations nearly made an immediate impact with Garmston regaining possession brilliantly after being denied the chance of a cross wide on the left; Ndjoli pounced on the resulting loose ball and thundered a shot past Fielding, but also beyond the far post.
Gills: Walsh, Hodson, Ogilvie (Jones 66), Tucker (Ehmer 66), Fuller (Garmston 66), List (Hanlan 66), Byrne (Charles-Cook 66), Oldaker (Cisse 66), Allen (Thomas 66), Reilly (Ndjoli 66), Trialist (O’Keefe 66).
Unused subs: Bonham, Woods, Campbell.
Millwall: Fielding, Cooper, Williams, Ferguson, Romeo, Pearce, Leonard, Mahoney (Burey 84), O’Brien (Mitchell 76), Skalak, Smith.
Unused subs: Sandford, McNamara, Ransom, Bodvarsson.
Referee: Mr G Ward