Championship side progress following narrow win over brave Gills.
Gillingham’s Carabao Cup campaign ended on Wednesday evening as Stoke City progressed in to Round Four following a 1-0 win at the bet365 Stadium.
Tyrese Campbell’s goal midway through the first half proved to be the difference between the two sides as a Gills side narrowly lost out in Round Three.
As predicted, Steve Evans made a number of changes for the trip to The Potteries, with just five starters keeping their place following Saturday’s win at Wigan. Jack Bonham missed out with a slight injury while new signing Dominic Samuel wasn’t registered in time to feature.
On what was a brisk evening in Staffordshire, it was a quiet opening with both sides quite content to work their way in to the game. The first chance of the game did eventually fall the way of the hosts, but Tommy Smith’s goal bound effort was cleared off the line by Zech Medley. It was a crucial interception to deny the experienced midfielder.
As the game started to open up, Gills were starting to find some space and nearly took the lead through John Akinde, but the forward’s header looped past the post and past Adam Davies’ post. He nearly broke in behind just minutes later but was denied by a last-ditch block.
It was Joe Walsh’s first appearance of the season and the young stopper was called in to action midway through the half. Walsh had to be quick to come out and deny Harry Souttar who looked destined to score from close range. As the pressure started to grow, Lee Gregory headed over and Stoke started to take control.
The pressure was to tell in the 37th minute when Stoke took the lead. Tyrese Campbell was slipped through in behind the Gills backline and slotted coolly past Walsh to give the Championship side the lead.
Neither side made a change at the break and the second half followed suit as Stoke pressed forward. An early cross from Josh Tymon picked out Campbell but his effort went past the post.
On the hour mark Stoke came agonisingly close to a second. A ball fell kindly to Tymon but his powerful effort cannoned back off the crossbar. It was hard to tell if Walsh got a hand to it, but either way it was a let off for Steve Evans’ men.
Evans introduced Vadaine Oliver and Ryan Jackson as the game started to tick away, and the changes saw a spell of increased pressure, without much end product.
Indeed, it could have been worse for the Gills just five minutes from time but Brown’s effort from close range was disallowed for a foul on a defender. It was to be the last action of note as Stoke progressed to face the winner of Aston Villa and Bristol City in Round Four.
Stoke City: Davies, Smith, Collins, Souttar, Fox, Oakley-Boothe, Thompson, Tymon, Campbell (Fletcher 67), Gregory (Brown 78), McClean.
Unused subs: Nna Noukeu, Batth, Ince, Cousins, Powell.
Gillingham: Walsh, Maghoma, Ogilvie, McKenzie, Robertson (Jackson 73), Willock (MacDonald 30), Woods, Coyle (Oliver 70), Graham, Akinde.
Unused subs: Tucker, Mellis.