Gills seal excellent away win.
Kyle Dempsey’s brilliant goal was enough to secure all three points for Gills in a 1-0 win at the Wham Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The captain scored on the brink of half-time following some lovely build-up play to secure the club's first victory of the 2021 calendar year.
A long ball forward was met by Jordan Graham on the left-hand side, and he played it to Alex MacDonald. MacDonald laid it off to Dempsey who curled his shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards out, giving Nathan Baxter no chance.
Steve Evans started both Callum Slattery and Olly Lee who signed for the Gills on loan within the last 48 hours.
They were two of the four changes made to the starting 11 that lost to Burton with Jack Tucker and MacDonald also being brought in.
It took a vital save from Jack Bonham to prevent the hosts from taking the lead in the sixth minute.
A well-worked throw-in routine allowed Colby Bishop to play Dion Charles through on goal. However, his attempt was closed down by a brave Bonham who saved with his face.
Olly Lee had the Gills first chance, but his effort from a tight angle failed to find the target. In the ninth minute, Alex MacDonald had a golden opportunity.
Accrington failed to clear a Ryan Jackson throw, and Connor Ogilvie played it out to the midfielder in space.
Unfortunately, he was unable to hit the back of the net. Nathan Baxter managed to save his goal-bound effort with his legs.
Six minutes later the midfielder had a second opportunity to net the opener. He picked the ball up from distance, and his shot had movement on it and forced a parried save from the goalkeeper.
Ten minutes prior to the interval Seamus Conneely came close. He was first to meet a clearance from an Accrington corner, but his first-time effort from 25 yards went just over the bar.
On the stroke of half-time, Kyle Dempsey gave Gills the lead.
The goal came following a great ball that found Jordan Graham on the left-hand side. He passed it to MacDonald inside the penalty area, and he laid it off to the captain 20 yards out.
Dempsey set himself, shifted his body to the right hand side before brilliantly curling it into the bottom corner, giving Baxter no chance.
HALF-TIME: Accrington Stanley 0-1 Gillingham
In the 50th minute, Michael Nottingham came close to levelling the scores. Sean McConville’s corner towards the back post was met by a Nottingham header. However, he struck the underside of the crossbar, and Gills managed to clear their lines.
Dempsey almost doubled Gillingham’s lead, but his shot from the edge of the area, forced a good parried save from Baxter.
Cameron Burgess tried his luck from distance, but his curling left-footed effort went high and wide of the goal.
Joe Pritchard went close inside the final quarter of an hour. He had the ball on the edge of the penalty area before firing a goal-bound shot. Fortunately, Tucker was on hand to block the shot and deny the forward.
Gills almost found a second thanks to brilliant footwork from MacDonald.
He did well to work his way into the penalty area before laying it off to Vadaine Oliver. Oliver’s shot was blocked, and Accrington managed to clear.
Bishop had a massive chance to level the scores in the 90th minute.
A ball over the top was met by Bishop, and his flick towards goal was brilliantly blocked by Bonham. The keeper got a vital touch and Tucker was on hand to hack the loose ball clear.
Substitute, Ryan Cassidy, was the next to put Gills hearts in mouths. He almost got in between both centre-halves, but a vital foot in from Ogilvie ensured he would not get a shot away.
Deep into stoppage time, Mark Hughes had a penalty shout as the defender went down under pressure from Tom O’Connor. Fortunately, the referee waved away all penalty claims.
Accrington piled on the pressure in the final moments, but Gills stood strong defensively and secured a vital three points.
FULL-TIME: Accrington Stanley 0-1 Gillingham
Accrington Stanley: Baxter, Nottingham, Hughes, Burgess, Sykes (Cassidy 81’), Butcher (Russell 17’), Pritchard, McConville, Bishop, Conneely, Charles
Unused Subs: Savin, Russell, Cassidy, Uwakwe, Barclay, Sama, Roberts
Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, Tucker, Ogilvie, O'Connor, MacDonald, Slattery, Dempsey, Graham (O’Keefe 90’), Lee, Oliver
Unused subs: Walsh, McKenzie, Johnson, Mellis, Willock