Gills beaten at Priestfield.
Junior Tchamadeu scored the only goal of the game as Colchester beat Gillingham 1-0 at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Boxing Day.
Neil Harris made two changes to the side that were beaten by Wolves in the Carabao Cup, as Robbie McKenzie and Ben Reeves returned to the starting XI. Will Wright and Cheye Alexander dropped to the bench, while Callum Harriott was named among the substitutes.
In the 19th minute, Gills had a penalty appeal as Hakeeb Adelakun went down after receiving contact from Al-Amin Kazeem as he looked to get beyond him inside the penalty area. The referee took a moment to look at it but awarded a corner.
Moments later, the visitors had a good chance. John Akinde managed to outmuscle Elkan Baggott before playing a low ball towards the six-yard box. Samson Tovide got across to make the first contact but cleared the crossbar with his effort.
In the 26th minute, Tchamadeu gave Colchester the lead. Gills lost possession midway inside their half, and Tovide took advantage as he went down the line. He delivered a cross towards the back post, where Tchamadeu and Akinde were both waiting. The Colchester full-back was the one who made contact as it slowly trickled across the goal and into the bottom corner.
There was another big Gillingham penalty appeal, as Dom Jefferies and Adelakun linked up. Jefferies played the winger in behind the Colchester defence, and as he tried to prod the ball across the goal, it appeared to hit the hand of a Colchester defender. Despite the appeals from the hosts, Sam Purkiss stood firm in not giving it.
HALF-TIME: Gillingham 0-1 Colchester United
Gills were forced into an early substitution in the second half as Ben Reeves went down with a concerning injury. The midfielder went down with a non-contact injury and was clutching his knee. He was stretchered off and replaced by Alex MacDonald.
Jake Turner was forced into action in the 61st minute as he denied Noah Chilvers. The Colchester midfielder was allowed to make his way to the penalty area before shooting. His effort had plenty of power, but Turner got down to parry it away from the danger.
Chilvers had another chance as a loose ball following Tchamadeu’s throw fell to him. He struck it first time, but it went wide of the target, leaving Turner untroubled.
Gills had a huge chance to equalise in the 86th minute. MacDonald curled a corner towards the penalty spot, where Baggott was all alone and had a free header at goal. However, he tried to glance his header as it went well wide of the target.
During stoppage time, there appeared to be another serious non-contact injury as Matty Longstaff went down off the ball.
FULL-TIME: Gillingham 0-1 Colchester United
Gillingham: Turner, McKenzie, Ehmer, Baggott, Tutonda (Green 79’), O’Keefe (Kashket 59’), Jefferies, Williams, Adelakun (Harriott 59’), Reeves (MacDonald 53’), Mandron
Unused Substitutes: Holtam, Alexander, Wright
Colchester United: O’Hara, Tchamadeu, Chambers, Smith, Kazeem, Skuse, Dallison, Chilvers, Huws, Akinde (Sears 90’), Tovide (Longstaff 82’ (Hannant 90’))
Unused Substitutes: Collins, Eastman, Chesters, Fevrier
Attendance: 4962 (420)
Referee: Mr S Purkiss