Mikael Mandron's first-half strike proved enough to give Gills all three points at ME7 on Saturday.
Gillingham returned to League One action with a thoroughly deserved 1-0 victory over Lincoln City at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Man of the Match Mikael Mandron’s first-half volley was enough for the Gills to secure all three points, and in fact they were unfortunate not to add more goals in the second half, as they dominated the game.
Gillingham manager Steve Evans made one change to the side that earned a 1-1 draw against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light last weekend, with Jack Tucker replacing Tommy O’Connor, who is on international duty with the Republic of Ireland U21s. The move saw Tucker slot in at centre-back, and Connor Ogilvie switch to left-back.
After a tight start to the game, the Gills had the first shot on target after 17 minutes. Stuart O’Keefe picked the ball up 30 yards from goal and fired a powerful shot goalwards which was well held by Lincoln ‘keeper Josh Vickers. At the other end, Jake Hesketh played the ball wide to Bruno Andrade, whose shot was well blocked by Barry Fuller.
With 23 minutes played, the Gills went ahead. Mark Byrne’s cross was deflected up in the air, and Mandron was on hand to calmly volley home for 1-0. Just prior to the half hour mark, Byrne’s throw in found Max Ehmer, who nicely chested it down for Olly Lee, but he wasn’t able to keep his volley down.
The Gills continued to have the better of the half, and Mandron was causing all sorts of problems. This trend continued as he got on the end of Fuller’s cross, but O’Keefe wasn’t able to capitalise as he drove his volley well wide.
Just before half-time, the away side came as close as they had all half, as Andrade took aim from range, and his effort deflected off Ogilvie and looped over the bar.
H/T: Gillingham 1-0 Lincoln City
Gillingham had the first shot of the second half, as Lee had a go from range, but his shot was comfortably wide. The home side came close again as the game approached the hour mark, when Lee set up O’Keefe on the edge of the box, who struck an effort just over the top.
They had the best chance of the half with 64 minutes on the clock, as Byrne crossed for Mandron, who couldn’t keep his header down from near the penalty spot. Moments later Hanlan drove into the penalty area, and after a brief scramble, saw his shot well blocked by Jason Shackell.
From the resulting corner, the ball came towards Hanlan again, but he wasn’t able to control his header. With 20 minutes to play the hosts came even closer, as Lee’s cross was flicked goalwards by Mandron, only for it to crash against the crossbar.
The Gills continued to dominate, with a lovely spell of passing leading to Hanlan finding half a yard inside the area, before his shot was heroically blocked by Neal Eardley.
Lincoln’s first real chance of the half came as the game headed towards the 90 minute mark, as Eardley’s cross was flicked just wide by substitute John Akinde.
Gillingham manager Steve Evans then made his first change of the game, as Regan Charles-Cook replaced Olly Lee.
In injury time the visitors pushed for an equaliser, and came close when Andrade’s cross picked out Tyler Walker, whose header was helped over the bar by Jack Bonham.
With the final act the Gills made their second change, with Alex Jakubiak coming on for Brandon Hanlan.
F/T: Gillingham 1-0 Lincoln City
Gillingham: Bonham, Fuller, Tucker, Ehmer, Ogilvie, Jones, O’Keefe, Byrne, Lee (Charles-Cook 90), Mandron, Hanlan (Jakubiak 93)
Unused subs: Walsh, Hodson, Ndjoli, Cisse, Marshall
Lincoln City: Vickers, Eardley, Shackell, Connolly (Bolger 45), Toffolo, Chapman, Pett, Payne (Anderson 68), Hesketh (Akinde 45), Andrade, Walker
Unused subs: Smith, Frecklington, Grant, Melbourne
Referee: Mr C Pollard
Attendance: 5,567 (453 away)