Mika Mandron bags his first goal since returning to ME7 as Gills record narrow win at Southend.
Mikael Mandron scored the only goal of the game as Gillingham ended their pre-season with a 1-0 win over Southend United at Roots Hall on Saturday.
The goal came after brilliant work from Scott Kashket, who used his pace to sprint down the left wing before cutting the ball back into the box. Mandron was waiting inside the six-yard area to head it into the back of the net.
Neil Harris made three changes following his side’s good run-out against Crystal Palace in midweek. Will Wright, David Tutonda and Ben Reeves all came into the starting XI with Cheye Alexander, Ryan Law and Olly Lee dropping to the bench.
Sam Dalby had a good opportunity to score in the tenth minute. A cross from the left was a high one, which Jake Turner was unable to deal with. Dalby won the header but failed to find the target.
In the 15th minute, Gills had Max Ehmer to thank for a huge goal-saving clearance. A ball into the box saw Callum Powell all on his own at the back, and he tried to drill his shot across the goal. It beat Turner, but not Ehmer, who was on hand to produce the goal line clearance.
Jordan Green had Gillingham’s first opportunity of note in the 20th minute. Tutonda latched onto a wayward pass and sprinted down the left. He curled a cross into the box, which Mikael Mandron battled for. The second ball fell to Green, who shot across the goal, but Ollie Kensdale was on hand to clear it away a yard from the line.
Scott Kashket came close moments later as his effort hit the post. Tutonda was at the heart of the action again as he used his pace to make his way into the penalty area. His attempted low-ball appeared to hit the hand of a Southend defender, but play carried on. It eventually fell to Kashket, who prodded the ball goalward. However, it bounced off the foot of the post, and Steve Arnold claimed it before anyone else could take advantage.
In the 37th minute, Oli Coker forced Turner into a save. Southend won possession around the halfway line and broke up the pitch with pace. The ball was played back to Coker, who could only manage to poer his effort straight at Turner.
HALF-TIME: Southend United 0-0 Gillingham
Mandron gave Gillingham the lead in the 56th minute with his first goal of pre-season. The goal came following the excellent work of Kashket, who used his blistering pace to speed past two Southend defenders. As he got to the byline, he cut the ball back into the box for Mandron to head into the back of the net from close range.
Green came close to doubling the Gills' lead less than ten minutes later. He received the ball on the edge of the Southend penalty area and was allowed to run towards the space. He shot with his left foot, but it hit the outside of the near post.
In stoppage time, Kashket had a good chance to score a second for Gillingham. Joe Gbode did well to flick the ball on, and the winger anticipated the touch. He struck the ball on the bounce but could not keep it under control as he struck wide.
FULL-TIME: Southend United 0-1 Gillingham
Southend United: Arnold (Trialist 46’), Ralph (Reeve 78’), Hobson (Crowhurst 78’), Kensdale (Davis 78’), Dalby (Bridge 70’), Powell, Clifford (Arrowsmith 78’), Miley (Taylor70’), Fonguck (Husin 70’), Demetriou (Wood 78’), Coker (Benton 60’)
Unused Substitutes: Mooney, Andeng Ndi
Gillingham: Turner, Wright, Ehmer, Baggott, Tutonda (Law 46’), Williams, Jefferies, Green (Alexander 84’), Reeves (Lee 70’), Kashket, Mandron (Gbode 70’)
Unused Substitutes: Holtam, Akehurst, Macarthur
Referee: Callum Walchester
Attendance: 1374 (114 Gills fans)