A hardworking Gills side were beaten by Rochdale in Wednesday's youth final at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
A hardworking, committed Gills youth side were beaten 3-0 by Rochdale in Wednesday's Youth Alliance League Cup Final at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
Craig Stone's men fell behind early on when Jordan Scanlon found space inside the box to guide home a left footed effort beyond the reach of Charlie Walker.
Bailey Akehurst had a free-kick well saved by Bradley Kelly, and George Baker Moran's header was also gathered by the Dale stopper before a controversial penalty swung the whole momentum of the tie.
A ball into the box was deflected and Walker had time to judge the flight of the ball and catch while adjusting his body position to protect himself from an oncoming player. The forward collided with the Gills number one after the ball had been taken and hit the deck; the referee blew his whistle, consulted his assistant and then pointed to the penalty spot.
Joe Wright slotted it away to give Gills an uphill battle.
H/T: Gillingham 0-2 Rochdale
Gills came out of the blocks full of energy and positivity but found it difficult to break down a strong Rochdale defence. Joe Wright had an effort saved by Walker before Akehurst's excellent corner was headed narrowly wide by Baker-Moran.
Walker made two excellent saves to deny Wright and Scanlon before Ethan Pye diverted home a corner kick to effectively seal the win.
The hosts refused to give up with Kelly forced to make a strong one handed save to deny Baker-Moran before Morgan Kinsella was required to prevent sub Ronald Sithole from pulling a goal back.
F/T: Gillingham 0-3 Rochdale
Gills: Walker, Lintott, Baker, Nelson, Akehurst, Maher, Gale (Grode 46), Medhurst, Chambers, Baker-Moran, Smith (Sithole 72).
Unused subs: Crump, Giles, Moore
Rochdale: Kelly, D'Souza, Kershaw, Kinsella, Chorlton, Clarkson, Scanlon, Wright (Calowell 86), Pye, Mialkowski, Yaduat (Cullen 59).
Unused subs: Thomas, Chalton
Referee: Mr Ryan Chantrill-Smith