Gills strike late to seal second successive home win.
Vadaine Oliver’s late goal proved to be the crucial winner as Gills fought for a massive three points in a 1-0 win over Cambridge at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Tuesday night.
Oliver’s goal came in the 86th minute, following a smart corner routine. Olly Lee played a low ball towards the edge of the box for Robbie McKenzie to direct goalward. Tom Dickson-Peters managed to get a touch onto it to play it into the path of Oliver, who smashed it into the back of the net.
Charlie Kelman came back into the starting XI after being on the bench at Ipswich. Danny Lloyd and Gerald Sithole both missed out through injury, but academy player Josh Chambers was named amongst the substitutes for the first time in his career.
Kelman had the first chance of the game, which came after 18 minutes. Robbie McKenzie’s long throw evaded everybody and found its way to the QPR loanee. He struck it first time, but a block by a Cambridge defender took the power out of it and made it a comfortable save for Dimitar Mitov.
After 30 minutes, chances were limited, with both sides battling for possession in the midfield in what had been a cagey game. Aaron Chapman was forced into one save, which was straight at him. Gills managed to get themselves into positive areas but could not conjure up an opportunity.
There was a moment of panic for the hosts as Cambridge managed to open up the Gills back five. James Brophy found Adam May inside the penalty area, who fell when he tried to shoot on the turn. It fell to Sam Smith, but Jack Tucker blocked his effort.
Harvey Knibbs had a great opportunity to put Cambridge in front during first-half stoppage time. A switch of the play allowed Cambridge to have a free man inside the box. George Williams headed it into the penalty area, and it eventually fell to Knibbs, who shot on the turn, but his effort went over the bar.
HALF-TIME: Gillingham 0-0 Cambridge United
Smith had the first real chance of the second half in the 65th minute. Williams’ cross into the box was directed towards Smith on the edge of the six-yard box, and he rose highest. However, he could not keep his header down as he missed the target.
Ben Thompson forced Mitov into a save with a little over ten minutes remaining. Gills did well to win possession inside the Cambridge half, and it fell to Thompson. He struck a powerful effort towards the goal, which had plenty of movement. Mitov had to parry it away as Cambridge managed to clear the second ball.
Gills had a penalty shout after substitute Ryan Jackson’s cross into the box. He ran down the wing before trying to put the ball into the box. It appeared to hit the hand of a Cambridge defender, but the referee waved away any penalty claims despite the appeals from the Rainham End.
In the 86th minute, Vadaine Oliver gave Gills the lead. Olly Lee’s corner was a low one towards McKenzie on the edge of the penalty area. He directed it towards the goal and Tom Dickson-Peters got a touch onto it to put it into the path of Oliver, who smashed it into the roof of the net from close range.
FULL-TIME: Gillingham 1-0 Cambridge United
Gillingham: Chapman, Tucker, Ehmer, Masterson, McKenzie, Tutonda (Jackson 75’), O’Keefe, Thompson, Lee, Kelman (Dickson-Peters 63’), Oliver (Phillips 90’)
Unused Substitutes: Dahlberg, Maghoma, Lintott, Chambers
Cambridge United: Mitov, Williams, Okedina, Sherring, Dunk, Digby, O’Neil (Lankester 64’), Knibbs (Tolaj 72’), May, Brophy, Smith
Unused Substitutes: Mannion, Worman, Bennett
Referee: Mr James Bell
Attendance: 3823 (426)