Mikael Ndjoli bags a brace at Priestfield as Gills defeat Wycombe.
A second half brace from Mikael Ndjoli was enough to defeat high-flying Wycombe Wanderers at Priestfield on Saturday afternoon.
After a cagey first half, the game swung in Gillingham’s favour in the 59th minute when some fine individual work from sub Brandon Hanlan ended in Ndjoli firing into the top corner. Ndjoli netted his second from the penalty spot twenty minutes from time as the Gills made it back-to-back league wins at Priestfield.
Gillingham manager Steve Evans had admitted in the week that a virus around the camp would impact his team selection, and it proved to be the case with both Alex Jakubiak and Ben Pringle having to settle for a place on the bench.
At a sun-drenched Priestfield, it was Wycombe who threatened an opener but an Alex Samuel shot was blocked behind for a corner. The resulting delivery from Joe Jacobson was comfortably dealt with by the Gills backline.
In the 18th minute, Samuel again came close, but this time his near-post flick rolled past Jack Bonham’s right-hand post. After coming out worse in a 50/50 with Barry Fuller, Samuel was replaced by Scott Kashket for the Chairboys.
Soon after the change, a long diagonal into the Gills box found its way to Nick Freeman, but his acrobatic effort was tipped behind by Bonham. Kashket then fired over the bar, as the league leaders looked for an opener.
Gills first chance of the game came just after the half-an-hour mark. An Olly Lee free-kick floated towards the unmarked Max Ehmer at the far post, but the Gills captain was denied by the legs of Ryan Allsop in the Wanderers goal. A good save from the Wycombe number one, who had been quiet up to that point.
Gillingham were struggling to get a foothold in the game in what was a stop-start encounter at Priestfield.
Nick Freeman had the first chance of the second-half, but his tame right-footed effort was easily caught by Jack Bonham. Steve Evans made his first change in the 58th minute, with Brandon Hanlan replacing Mikael Ndjoli.
And it proved to be an inspired change by Evans with Hanlan playing a huge part in the opening goal just a minute later. The forward exquisitely beat his man on halfway, drove down the wing before teeing up Mikael Ndjoli. Ndjoli took a touch before firing the ball in to the top corner. 1-0.
The noise inside Priestfield had certainly gone up a level with the league leaders now behind. They looked for a response, but Nnamdi Ofoborh struck well over from 20 yards.
Gillingham doubled their lead in the 72nd minute. Olly Lee showed great feet to turn his man inside the area, the Wycombe defender pushed over Lee and referee James Adcock had no choice but to point to the spot. Ndjoli stepped up and fired past Allsop to put the game to bed. 2-0.
Ben Pringle was introduced in to the action in place of Lee. David Wheeler, on as a second-half substitute fired over the bar. Gills were doing a sterling job of seeing the game through. One last surge from Barry Fuller got the Rainham End fans on their feet. A fitting end to what was a hard fought, at times scrappy, but hugely important win at Priestfield.
Gillingham: Bonham, Fuller, Ehmer, Ogilvie, O’Connor, Jones, Byrne, Lee (Pringle 76), Marshall, Mandron (Hanlan 57), Ndjoli (O’Keefe 90).
Unused subs: Walsh, Tucker, Hodson, Jakubiak.
Wycombe: Allsop, Gape, Stewart, Pattison, Grimmer ((Phillips 70)), Akinfenwa, Charles, Freeman, Samuel (Kashket 28), Ofoborh. Jacobson (Wheeler 70)
Unused subs: Yates, Mascoll, Parker, Thompson
Referee: Mr James Adcock