Gills finish the season with victory at Priestfield.
Vadaine Oliver’s 20th goal of the season ensured Gillingham ended the season with three points as they beat Plymouth Argyle 1-0 at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Oliver rounded off a well-worked move as Robbie McKenzie’s cross was flicked on by Olly Lee, and Oliver was on hand to head home from close range.
Steve Evans named an unchanged starting XI for the final League One game of the season. Matty Willock and Ryan Jackson both returned to the matchday squad, while Tommy O'Connor continued in the centre of defence with Alex MacDonald in midfield.
There was an early stoppage as Kelland Watts suffered what appeared to be a serious injury. The incident came following a contested header with Vadaine Oliver, which saw Watts stretchered off after over ten minutes of treatment from both sets of medical teams.
Olly Lee had the first chance of the game in the 14th minute. Tom O’Connor’s corner curled towards the back post, and Lee won the header. Unfortunately, he was unable to hit the target with his attempt.
Byron Moore, who replaced Watts, forced Jack Bonham into a save moments later. Moore latched onto a loose ball and tried his luck, and Bonham did well to get down quickly and push it away.
In the 21st minute, a Ben Reeves free-kick came close to finding the target. His shot took a deflection off the wall and went inches over the crossbar. The following corner came to nothing.
Jack Tucker came inches away from making it two in the 44th minute. Connor Ogilvie’s throw was flicked into the path of the defender, and it bounced off his knee. It sailed towards the goal but missed the target by an inch.
Kyle Dempsey came close in first-half stoppage time. Ogilvie’s long throw was headed as far as the midfielder who tried his luck on the half-volley. However, his effort went over the crossbar.
HALF-TIME: Gillingham 1-0 Plymouth Argyle
In the 48th minute, Lee was denied by a brilliant Michael Cooper save. Plymouth were unable to clear their lines, and Lee tried his luck with a left-footed shot. Cooper managed to get a hand on it to push it away from danger.
Niall Ennis had a golden chance to equalise in the 58th minute. A low cross towards the near post was perfect for Ennis to run onto, but his flick at goal was blocked, and Gills managed to clear their lines.
Argyle somehow failed to equalise in the 65th minute. Bonham did brilliantly to deny Joe Edwards from close range, and the rebound fell to Moore. The forward did well to get around the Gills keeper but missed the target.
Tyreke Johnson was brought on in the 68th minute and came close to finding the back of the net four minutes later. He picked up the ball twenty yards from goal and tried his luck with a curling shot. The ball went just wide of the post as Cooper stayed rooted to the spot.
In the 82nd minute, Lee had another half chance. Graham’s footwork allowed him to beat his defender before lofting a cross towards the six-yard box. However, Lee could not make clear contact, and it bounced wide of the goal.
Johnson came close to grabbing a second in stoppage time. His driving run towards the penalty area allowed him an angle to shoot. He tried blasting the ball past Luke McCormick, but the Plymouth sub keeper did well to keep it out.
FULL-TIME: Gillingham 1-0 Plymouth Argyle
Gillingham: Bonham, McKenzie, Tucker, Ogilvie, O’Connor, Dempsey, O’Keefe (Woods 59’), Graham, Lee, MacDonald (Johnson 68’), Oliver (Akinde 54’)
Unused Substitutes: Bastien, Jackson, Willock, Samuel
Plymouth Argyle: Cooper (McCormick 87’), Watts (Moore 13’(Lolos 68’)), Edwards, Hardie, Mayor (Craske 87’), Reeves, Fornah, Ennis (Jephcott 68’), Law, Camara, Tomlinson
Unused Substitutes: Pursall, Mitchell
Referee: Mr A Young