Lincoln prove clinical as hard-working Gills leave ME7 empty handed.
Lincoln returned to the top of Sky Bet League One after a clinical display at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Friday evening.
Gills created several chances, and had a lot of possession on the night, but couldn't find a way past Alex Palmer as Michael Appleton's men scored three without reply to inflict a harsh scoreline on the Kent club.
Conor McGrandles opened the scoring in the 14th minute as he was first to capitalise on a loose ball and placed his shot into the top corner from inside the box.
Lincoln were awarded a controversial penalty on the hour mark. Ryan Jackson was adjudged to have fouled Brennan Johnson, and the referee pointed to the spot.
Jorge Grant stepped up and blasted his penalty into the back of the net.
Tom Hopper netted Lincoln’s third following some good work from Morgan Rogers. He drove into the Gills penalty area and forced Bonham into a great save. Unfortunately, Hopper was first to the rebound and headed into an empty net.
Steve Evans named an unchanged XI to the side that drew 2-2 against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light last Saturday.
Tom O’Connor returned to the substitutes bench having missed Saturday’s game, and James Morton made his first appearance in the matchday squad having signed on loan from Bristol City.
Robbie Cundy had the first opportunity of the evening. A Ryan Jackson long throw into the box was flicked towards goal by the defender, but Alex Palmer claimed the ball at the second attempt.
In a lively start for the hosts, Alex MacDonald was next to try his luck. Gills did well to win possession in midfield, and MacDonald had some space. He tried his luck from distance, but it was a comfortable save for the Lincoln number one.
In the 14th minute, Conor McGrandles scored for Lincoln.
The goal came following some brilliant work from Jorge Grant. It allowed Lincoln to get some space and put the ball into the penalty area. The first attempt was blocked, and it fell to McGrandles, who placed it into the top corner.
Vadaine Oliver had a penalty claim after going down under contact from Palmer. However, the referee waved away any penalty shouts.
In the 30th minute, it took a massive Joe Walsh block to deny Jordan Graham. Kyle Dempsey played a neat give and go and managed to play Graham through, and after setting himself, he blasted a shot towards goal. However, Walsh slid in bravely to block the ball from going towards the target.
On the stroke of half-time, Graham came close from a free-kick. From 25 yards out he curled one towards the top corner, but it went over the crossbar.
HALF-TIME: Gillingham 0–1 Lincoln City
Graham tested Palmer in the opening moments of the second half.
He was first to an Oliver knockdown, but his half volley from the edge of the area proved to be a comfortable save.
Connor Ogilvie went down after a nasty clash in the 50th minute. Fortunately, he was able to continue playing after spending time on the floor, receiving lengthy treatment.
In the 58th minute, Morgan Rogers hit the crossbar. Lincoln did well to catch Gills on the counter-attack, and Rogers got played through on goal. He smashed the ball against the top of the crossbar, leaving Bonham with no chance.
Moments later the referee awarded Lincoln a penalty.
The referee believed that Jackson had fouled Brennan Johnson and controversially pointed to the spot. Grant stepped up and blasted his effort into the back of the net as Bonham dived the wrong way.
In the 64th minute, Tom Hopper got a third for Lincoln. Rogers did brilliantly making his way into the penalty area. However, his effort saw a great save by Bonham. Unfortunately, Hopper was first to the rebound and headed into an empty net.
John Akinde and Tom O’Connor both came on in the 67th minute, and them linking up almost made an immediate impact.
O’Connor’s cross into the box was met by the head of Akinde. His header hit the corner of the crossbar and bounced away from danger.
Hopper almost got a fourth as Lincoln caught Gills on the counter, but his shot dragged just wide of the far post. The visitors did have the ball in the net late on, but the offside flag went up.
FULL-TIME: Gillingham 0–3 Lincoln City
Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, Tucker, Cundy, Ogilvie, Dempsey (O’Keefe 90’), Slattery (Morton 90’), MacDonald (O’Connor 67’), Lee (Akinde 67’), Graham, Oliver
Unused Subs: Bastien, McKenzie, Johnson
Lincoln: Palmer, Eyoma (Poole 74’), Jackson, Walsh, Edun, Bridcutt, Grant, McGrandles, Johnson (Anderson 79’), Rogers, Hopper
Unused Subs: Long, Montsma, Jones, Scully, Bramall
Referee: Mr S Barrott