Fleetwood hang on to secure victory after scoring early spot kick.
Kyle Vassell’s early penalty condemned Gills to a 1-0 defeat against Fleetwood at Highbury Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The penalty was won with Gills attempting to clear a ball into the box, and it fell to Ged Garner. Garner felt a push in the back and went down under the contact, leading to the referee pointing to the spot.
Vassell stepped up and scored with his penalty hitting the inside of the post before bouncing into the back of the net.
Olly Lee and John Akinde both had good chances to level the game for Gills but couldn't find a way past Alex Cairns.
Steve Evans named an unchanged line-up for the third successive game following Saturday’s impressive victory over Ipswich.
In the first minute, the hosts were awarded, what proved to be, a decisive spot kick. Gills couldn't clear a cross into the box, and the ball fell to Ged Garner. The Fleetwood striker went down having received contact, and the referee pointed to the spot.
Vassell stepped up and sent Jack Bonham the wrong way as his spot-kick hit the inside of the right post before finding the back of the net.
Vassell came close again as his deflected shot hit the bar. He received the ball from a free-kick on the edge of the area and tried a speculative shot. Tom O’Connor got a deflection on the effort, which saw it loop onto the top of the crossbar as Bonham was left rooted.
Garner forced Bonham into a simple save in the 19th minute. He managed to get in behind the Gills defence and drove into the penalty area. However, his effort towards the front post was a weak one, and the Gills keeper easily gathered it.
O’Connor had Gillingham’s first chance of the game in the 35th minute. A Ryan Jackson long throw was headed as far as the on loan Southampton man, and he decided to shoot from 30 yards. His effort was dipping, but not enough, as it went over the bar.
Olly Lee had a massive chance to equalise in first-half stoppage time. Robbie Cundy headed across the six-yard box into the path of Lee. The midfielder tried to prod it past Cairns, but the host’s keeper did brilliantly, clawing it away, preventing an almost certain goal.
HALF-TIME: Fleetwood 1-0 Gillingham
Gills made two substitutions in the opening stages of the second half, as Rob McKenzie and John Akinde were introduced.
Akinde tested Cairns in the 56th minute. His initial shot on the edge of the area was blocked, and he picked up the loose ball. He got inside the box before shooting with his left foot. However, his effort towards the near post was palmed away courtesy of a strong hand from Cairns.
Jordan Rossiter rattled the crossbar from the halfway line just short of the hour mark. Bonham’s clearance went as far as the midfielder, but his first-time shot from distance hit the corner of the bar.
Akinde had another chance in the 77th minute. A Connor Ogilvie long throw was flicked on by Vadaine Oliver into the path of Akinde. The Gills striker volleyed his shot on the swivel, but it was straight at Cairns, who comfortably gathered it.
The Gills had the ball in the back of the net deep into stoppage time, but the referee ruled it out for a foul on Cairns. Ogilvie scooped the ball into the path of the goalkeeper, and the ball was bundled into the net by Matty Willock, but he was judged to have fouled the Cairns.
FULL-TIME: Fleetwood Town 1-0 Gillingham
Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Hill, Connolly, Holgate, Donacien, Batty (Biggins 83’), Camps (Finley 83’), Rossiter, Andrew, Garner (Madden 66’), Vassell
Unused Substitutes: Coleman, Burns, Rydel, Morris
Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson (McKenzie 46’), Tucker, Cundy, Ogilvie, Dempsey, O’Keefe, Graham (MacDonald 69’), Lee (Willock 65’), O’Connor (Akinde 51’), Oliver
Unused Substitutes: Bastien, Morton, Johnson
Referee: Marc Edwards