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Youth Report | Bearsted 1-1 Gillingham XI

Ronald Sithole ensures a share of the spoils at Honey Lane.

26 July 2022

Gills compete well against Bearsted but are forced to settle for a draw.

A young Gills side came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against Bearsted in a pre-season friendly at Honey Lane on Tuesday evening.

The visitors had fallen behind when a shot into the ground deceived keeper Taite Holtam, but Gills deservedly drew level soon after the interval when Ronald Sithole's precise strike from inside the box hit the inside of both posts before nestling in the back of the net.

Mark Moss took the game and named both Bailey Akehurst and Joe Gbode in his starting XI with first-team manager Neil Harris looking on. Freddie Carter and Alex Giles started in the heart of defence with Julien Kuhr and Elliott Moore in midfield. Matt Macarthur also made the XI after scoring twice at Chatham on Friday night.

The hosts came out of the traps quickly and shot wide within the first couple of minutes before an effort from Macarthur was well blocked. On eight minutes Bearsted took the lead when a left footed shot from just inside the penalty area was struck into the ground; Holtam had set himself but the bounce deceived him and the ball had gone over the keeper before he had a chance to react.

A George Hutcheon header was saved by the Bearsted number one following a good Akehurst delivery before a similar opportunity at the other end was guided wide.

The Gills best chance of the half fell to Sithole whose right footed effort from 20 yards was well gathered by the Bearsted keeper.

The hosts nearly doubled their advantage before the break when Kuhr appeared to have been fouled 35 yards from his own goal, the referee allowed play to continue and, with Holtam off his line, a midfielder tried his luck. The ball comfortably made its way over the youngster, but it also cleared the bar by a couple of yards.


H/T: Bearsted 1-0 Gills


Gbode went close following the interval, seeing his shot well stopped before Holtam made a terrific save at the other end from point blank range. This proved important as Gills got back in the game a few moments later.

Sithole had halted his run at the far post and received the ball inside the box, he shot low across the keeper and the ball struck the inside of both posts before the ball nestled in the back of the net.

A host of changes was made by Mark Moss as the visitors searched for a winner, however Bearsted proved tough to break down. 

As the clock ticked into the final minute the Gills had a half chance to seal victory when a ball over the top gave Garrett, on for Gbode, something to chase. He nipped in between his marker, and the oncoming keeper, to win a header. It looked to be going in, but rolled just wide of the left post.


F/T: Bearsted 1-1 Gillingham


Gills: Holtam, Webster (Skipper 61), Carter (Woodliffe 73), Giles (Taiwo-Pratt 73), Akehurst, Kuhr, (de Wilde 61) Moore, Hutcheon (Murray 67), Sithole (Bayliss 67), Macarthur, Gbode (Garrett 81).

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