Former Gills midfielder Scott Wagstaff scores the only goal of the game as AFC Wimbledon clinch narrow 1-0 win.
Gillingham’s run of three straight wins in all competitions came to an end with a 1-0 defeat away at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday at Kingsmeadow.
Scott Wagstaff’s first-half goal was enough for the hosts, despite the Gills having comfortably the better of the chances, while Ben Pringle was sent off in added time for dissent.
Gillingham manager Steve Evans made one change to the side that beat Sunderland in the FA Cup in midweek. Alex Jakubiak dropped down to the bench, with Mikael Mandron, who scored the winner against Lincoln City last week, coming it to take his place. Tommy O’Connor, returned to the matchday squad after his selection for the Republic of Ireland U21s.
Gillingham had the better of the play in the opening stages, with Brandon Hanlan putting a shot wide after being found by Mark Byrne, however the forward was flagged offside. Minutes later Hanlan was in the action again, when he was denied from close range by Nathan Trott after an Olly Lee corner fell his way.
AFC Wimbledon went ahead after 18 minutes, against the run of play. Mitch Pinnock found room on the right, and found Scott Wagstaff making a run on his outside, and he slipped the ball beyond Jack Bonham and into the far corner. 1-0
The visitors looked to respond, as at the other end Hanlan escaped the attentions of Paul Kalambayi, before seeing his shot well blocked by Luke O’Neill. Moments later the ball dropped to Mikael Mandron in the area, but he dragged his shot wide of the near post.
Gillingham were forced into a change just before the half hour mark, as the injured Stuart O’Keefe was replaced by Tommy O’Connor. Moments after, the Gills were inches from being level, as a ball over the top from Connor Ogilvie found Hanlan, whose deflected shot trickled just wide of the post.
The Gills were still having the better of the game as the match approached the halfway mark, as Jack Tucker headed Lee’s corner wide.
H/T: AFC Wimbledon 1-0 Gillingham
The away side made a good start to the second half, with the first chance coming to Hanlan, who was unable to turn Mark Byrne’s cross beyond Trott in the Wimbledon goal.
After 52 minutes, Gillingham appeared to be denied a clear penalty after Lee looked to have been pushed in the Wimbledon area by Pinnock, but the referee was unmoved. At the other end, Bonham had to be on hand to turn over a long range effort from Pinnock.
From the resulting corner the hosts came even closer, as the ball eventually came to Max Sanders, who saw his deflected cross strike the top of the bar. With 25 minutes left, the Gills came close once more, as Mandron’s flick on found Hanlan, who came back inside before shooting just wide of the post.
Hanlan was a constant threat, and he had another strike when he was well found by O’Connor, but his shot was straight at Trott. Ogilvie had the Gills next chance, heading O’Connor’s corner over the bar.
With 11 minutes left, Gillingham made their second change, as Mark Marshall replaced Lee. Wimbledon had the game’s next opening, as Pinnock’s cross found Joe Pigott, who acrobatically volleyed over.
At the other end, there was another opening for Hanlan, who this time volleyed wide of the near post. After 86 minutes, the Gills made their final change, as Barry Fuller made way for Ben Pringle.
The Gills were reduced to ten men in added time at the end, as Pringle was shown a straight red for dissent. Gillingham appeared to be denied another penalty deep into injury time, but the referee waved away the protests.
F/T: AFC Wimbledon 1-0 Gillingham
AFC Wimbledon: Trott, O’Neil, Delaney, Kalambayi, Osew, Wagstaff, Sanders, Reilly, Pinnock, Forss (Appiah 57), Pigott (Guinenss-Walker 86)
Unused subs: McDonnell, Thomas, Hartigan, Rudoni, McLoughlin
Gillingham: Bonham, Fuller, Tucker, Ehmer, Ogilvie, Jones, O’Keefe (O’Connor 29), Byrne, Lee (Marshall 79), Hanlan, Mandron
Unused subs: Walsh, Ndjoli, Charles-Cook, Pringle, Jakubiak
Referee: Mr K Johnson
Attendance: 4,554 (645 away)