Gills battle away in second half but Ipswich survive late pressure to seal victory in Kent.
Gillingham’s four-game unbeaten run in League One came to an end at the MEMS Priestfield at the hands of Ipswich Town on Saturday following a 1-0 defeat.
Ipswich went ahead in the first half thanks to a Kane Vincent-Young header, and held on in the second half, despite an excellent chance falling the way of Alex Jakubiak.
Gillingham manager Steve Evans made two changes to the side that earned a hard-fought point at Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night. Jack Tucker, who impressed from the bench in midweek, came into the starting XI, as did Stuart O’Keefe, with Mikael Ndjoli and the injured Alfie Jones missing out.
The Gills made the brighter start and had the first opportunity when the ball dropped to Olly Lee on the edge of the box, but he sliced his shot wide. Ipswich’s first chance came after a quarter of an hour when Alan Judge looked to play in Kayden Jackson, though Jack Bonham in the Gillingham goal did well to deal with the danger.
At the other end, Lee had another good chance, dragging his shot wide after Tommy O’Connor’s cross was cleared. James Wilson came within inches of giving Ipswich the lead just moments later, as his header from Andre Dozzell’s corner dropped just wide of the post.
It took 25 minutes to see the first shot on target, when Gwion Edwards shot straight into the arms of Bonham. The pressure was growing from Town, with Wilson having another good opportunity, but again he flicked Dozzell’s corner wide.
However, it was the Gills who nearly went ahead, and in spectacular fashion. Lee’s corner was cleared as far as O’Connor 25 yards from goal, and his dipping volley clipped the top of the net. From the next corner, Hanlan’s overhead kick set up Max Ehmer, whose shot went wide of the target.
Despite the Gills pressure, it was Ipswich who opened the scoring. Jackson picked up the ball up on the left, and crossed for Kane Vincent-Young, who headed in at the far post to make it 0-1.
H/T: Gillingham 0-1 Ipswich Town
Manager Steve Evans was forced into his first change just a couple of minutes into the half, as Lee Hodson replaced O’Connor, who appeared to pick up an injury. A few moments later the Gills made their second change, with Jack Tucker replaced by Ben Pringle, as the home side switched to a back four.
The Gills had the first shot on target of the half, as Mark Byrne tried his luck from range, but it was comfortably held by ex-Gillingham ‘keeper Tomas Holy. The pressure was growing from the home side, and they had another chance on the hour mark when Brandon Hanlan headed Pringle’s corner wide of the far post.
The pressure nearly paid off a few minutes later when Byrne played in Jakubiak, but Luke Chambers got back to make a vital block. At the other end, Ipswich could have doubled their lead. Vincent-Young drove forward, before finding Alan Judge in room on the left, and he curled his shot onto the base of the post.
Judge was involved once more in the next move, setting up substitute Jon Nolan on the edge of the box, and he called Bonham into action, who did well to parry clear. With 20 minutes left, the Gills made their final change, with Jakubiak making way for Mikael Mandron.
The Gills attempted to pile the pressure on late in the day, but Vincent-Young’s first half header was enough to earn Ipswich the points.
F/T: Gillingham 0-1 Ipswich
Gillingham: Bonham, Fuller, Tucker (Pringle 51), Ehmer, Ogilvie, Ehmer, O’Connor (Hodson 48), Byrne, O’Keefe, Lee, Hanlan, Jakubiak (Mandron 70)
Unused subs: Walsh, Ndjoli, Charles-Cook, Cisse
Ipswich: Holy, Woolfenden, Chambers, Wilson, Vincent-Young, Downes (Nolan 45), Skuse, Edwards, Dozzell (Huws 64), Judge, Jackson
Unused subs: Norris, Garbutt, Georgiou, Keane
Referee: Mr C Sarginson