Ronald Sithole scores twice as Gills seal impressive 2-0 win over Wigan at MEMS Priestfield Stadium in FA Youth Cup.
Gillingham booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup following a 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic at Priestfield on Monday night.
Ronald Sithole scored a second half brace as an impressive display helped see off the Latics, who were unable to break down a solid and well organised rearguard.
Mark Moss made one change to the team that defeated Plymouth Argyle in the previous round. Joe Gbode came in for Josh Bayliss who was among the substitutes. Matty Macarthur was fit enough for the bench, as was Will de Wilde.
Gills had a great chance in the opening two minutes when the lively Sithole stole a yard on his man and got on the end of an excellent pass down the right wing; the winger drove towards the box at speed but his right footed effort from a difficult angle went wide of the target.
Wigan were playing expansive Football but in doing so were leaving gaps and defending high, allowing a ball over the top for Gbode to latch onto. He got into the box and did well to pick out Kai Garrett who smashed an effort against the inside of the post, with Wigan grateful to see the ball run safe.
Ten minutes later and it was Garrett who went close again. This time a shot inside the box from Gbode was well saved, the ball ran loose and Garrett attempted to guide the ball home but somehow a defender did enough by sticking out his right leg and he prevented a certain goal.
Garrett was at it again on 37 minutes. He got his body in front of his marker following a low cross from Dempsey. He turned quickly and forced a fine save from Matthew Wonnacott who was off his line quickly to narrow the gap.
On the stroke of half-time Wonnacott was required again to make a save, this time from Sithole who drove towards the box from the left side and, from a tricky angle, got a powerful effort away which was very well saved by the Wigan number one.
H/T: Gillingham 0-0 Wigan Athletic
The opening ten minutes of the half passed without incident, but Sithole put Gills in front on 58 minutes when his right footed effort from 18 yards, having been played in by George Hutcheon, took a deflection and struck the inside of the post before nestling in the back of the net.
Garrett saw a low effort saved before Taite Holtam was called upon to palm away a header from Nathan Sandison, and that was about as good as Wigan were able to offer before Gills got their second and decisive goal.
A Wigan defender was deceived as a ball bounced off the wet turf and Sithole pounced, bringing the ball away from the recovering player before rounding the advancing keeper and calmly slotting away from close range.
Julian Kuhr went close in second half stoppage time but forced a fine stop from Wonnacott in the Wigan goal.
Gills will now play Preston in round four, which will be played at MEMS Priestfield Stadium in January.
F/T: Gillingham 2-0 Wigan Athletic
Gills: Holtam, Moore, Gale, Giles, Dempsey, Kuhr, Hutcheon, Garrett (Macarthur 88), Sithole, Skipper, Gbode (Murray 90+3).
Unused subs: Smith, Woodliffe, Taiwo-Pratt, Bayliss, de Wilde.
Wigan XI: Wonnacott, Winstanley, Latona, Sumner, Solomon, Mohamed, Reilly, Payne, Worsley, Grewal, Sandison
Unused subs: Campbell, Knowles, Depeiaza, Gill, Malunda, Jones, Rimmer
Referee: Mr D David