Gills pay the penalty in cup semi-final.
Gillingham were eliminated from the Kent Senior Cup in the semi-final stages on Tuesday evening at the Gallagher Stadium, with Maidstone United securing a 4-2 victory on penalties.
Goals from Elliott List and Tahvon Campbell had put the Gills 2-1 up in the first half with an Elliott Romain strike sandwiched in between but a second half strike from Justin Amaluzor ensured the tie would be settled on penalties following a 2-2 draw in normal time. Hadler’s save from Amaluzor wasn’t enough as the Stones went through, the winning penalty scored by substitute Blair Turgott.
Gillingham fielded a strong line up with List, Josh Rees and Regan Charles-Cook among those featuring while Alex Lacey also returned to the starting line-up after recovering from an ankle injury.
Over 450 Gills fans made the short trip to the Gallagher Stadium as Gills looked to progress to the final for the first time in four years and they made a good start as they took an early lead through Tahvon Campbell. After a long diagonal ball from Jack Tucker, the ball fell kindly to Campbell who poked home from inside the box after nine minutes.
Gills came within inches of doubling their lead just moments later, but Josh Rees’ goal bound header was diverted behind for a corner, when the midfielder looked destined to score.
Maidstone responded though and drew level less than ten minutes later as Elliott Romain headed home from inside the six-yard box after a cross from the right wasn’t cleared, leaving Hadler with no chance in the Gills goal.
Maidstone were growing in to the game and both Leo Donnellan and Romain came close to putting the hosts ahead before a header from Will De Havilland flew over Tom Halder’s cross bar.
Gillingham went back in front in the 39th minute. Billy King showed great vision to play a ball in behind the Stones defence and List showed good composure to slot in to the bottom corner to restore the lead in front of the travelling fans.
As the half drew to a close, Romain again did well to get in behind but his effort sailed over the bar before appeals for a penalty were waved away by referee Aji Ajibola in what proved to be the last action of the half.
Maidstone started the second half brightly and drew level in the 48th minute when Justin Amaluzor fired across Tom Hadler after an accurate ball was played in to the left channel. The forward did well to compose himself and clinically found the opposite corner with an accurate strike.
As the game settled down in to a pattern in the second half, Regan Charles-Cook came close from distance, but his curling effort narrowly went over the bar, before Leo Donnellan called Hadler in to make a smart stop at the other end.
In the 66th minute Billy King then came close but after a neat run in from the left-hand side, his shot was palmed round the post by Dion-Curtis Henry in the Stones goal.
Billy King came close again minutes later, but his volleyed effort went past the post as both teams struggled to create anything clear cut.
In the 85th minute a miskick from Tom Hadler nearly played in Blair Turgott but Hadler redeemed himself and came out quickly to smother the ball and keep the scores level before Hadler was again called in to action to deny Amaluzor from the edge of the box.
The last action of the half saw Bradley Garmston fire a free-kick straight at Henry as it ended all square and, as is the case with the Kent Senior Cup, the game went to penalties.
Elliott List and Billy King both missed their penalties as the Gills lost out 4-2 from the spot. A disappointing end to an entertaining game which was played out in a good atmosphere and proved to be a good advert for the competition.
- Powell – SCORED
- Amaluzor – SAVED
- Donnellan – SCORED
- Wishart – SCORED
- Turgott - SCORED
- List – SAVED
- Oldaker – SCORED
- Rees – SCORED
- King - MISSED
Maidstone: Henry, Meredith, De Havilland, Wishart, Davies, Phillips (Powell 83), Paxman (Turgott 83), Donnellan, Amaluzor, Romain
Maidstone subs: Strizovic, Walton, Powell, Richards,
Gills: Hadler, Garmston, Lacey, Tucker, Chapman, Oldaker, King, Charles-Cook, Rees, List, Campbell.
Subs: Catherall, Simpson, Woods, Stevenson, Morrell
Attendance: 1389 (426 Gills)