Gills beaten at ME7 by play-off chasing Bolton.
Aaron Morley scored the pick of the goals as Bolton beat Gillingham 3-0 at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Neil Harris made one change to the team that beat Lincoln 2-0 last weekend. Mustapha Carayol returned to the side for the first time since the win over Crewe as he replaced Olly Lee, who dropped to the bench.
Former Gills captain Kyle Dempsey missed the game for Bolton through illness.
Ben Thompson had the first chance of the game with a speculative effort in the ninth minute. Ryan Jackson’s long throw into the box evaded everybody and bounced nicely for Thompson. However, he did not make clear contact with the ball, and James Trafford gathered.
In the 12th minute, Dion Charles had a golden opportunity for the visitors. The ball was played through to Charles, who was unmarked. He shot on the turn from around 12 yards, but he missed the target at the near post.
Charles had an even better opportunity just moments later. Will Aimson had a shot from 25 yards, and it was blocked by a Gillingham defender. It sat nicely for the Northern Ireland international to fire into the back of the net from the centre of the penalty area. However, Charles somehow missed the target by some distance with a left-footed effort.
Bolton kept up their pressure as Declan John forced Aaron Chapman into a save from a tight angle. Chapman did well to push the shot over the crossbar.
Dan Phillips had an opportunity for the Gills in the 27th minute. Jackson went short with his throw, and Phillips cut inside. He had acres of space and decided to try his luck from around 25 yards. Unfortunately, his low-drilled effort went wide of the target.
Just after the half-hour mark, Aaron Morley gave Bolton the lead. The ball was played to Morley 20 yards from goal, and he curled an effort first time across the goal into the top corner, giving Chapman little chance of making the save.
Marlon Fossey was the next man to test Chapman, but his shot from 18 yards was straight at the Gillingham goalkeeper.
HALF-TIME: Gillingham 0-1 Bolton Wanderers
Gills had Max Ehmer and Chapman to thank as they prevented the visitors from doubling their lead.
Fossey went on a tricky run inside the Gills penalty area and then decided to shoot. He looked like he was going to score, but Ehmer was on hand to block the attempt.
Following that, Dapo Afolayan won the ball high up the pitch and ran into the Gillingham penalty area. He opted to shoot low towards Chapman’s near post, but the Gills shot-stopper got down to push it away. The rebound came back to Afolayan, who shot from a tight angle, but Chapman was on hand to push over the crossbar.
Dan Phillips was sent off in the 61st minute after committing two fouls in a matter of minutes. The first yellow card came after a sliding tackle, where Phillips appeared to win the ball. However, the referee deemed it a yellow card. The second card came after Bolton looked to catch Gills on the counter-attack. Phillips got tangled up with a player and brought him down, and the referee gave him his marching orders.
Just four minutes later, John doubled the Bolton lead. Jon Dadi Bodvarsson ran into the box, where the visitors had a three on two. He decided to shoot, where Chapman made the save, but it fell to John, who drilled the rebound under the Gills keeper and into the back of the net.
With little under 20 minutes remaining, Conor Masterson had a good opportunity to get Gills back into the game. Ben Reeves’ corner was curled towards the six-yard box, and Masterson managed to peel away from his man to meet the ball. He got his head onto it, but his header skied the crossbar.
Bodvarsson made it three for the visitors in the 86th minute. He did well to get beyond his man and poked the ball into the back of the net, leaving Chapman with little chance of making the save.
FULL-TIME: Gillingham 0-3 Bolton Wanderers
Gillingham: Chapman, Jackson, Tucker, Ehmer, Masterson, McKenzie, Phillips, O’Keefe, Thompson, Carayol (Reeves 46’), Oliver (Kelman 87’)
Unused Substitutes: Dahlberg, Maghoma, Tutonda, Lee, Dickson-Peters
Bolton Wanderers: Trafford, John, Williams (Thomason 87’), Santos, Johnston, Bodvarsson, Charles (Bakayoko 78’), Fossey, Aimson, Morley, Afolayan (Sadlier 78')
Unused Substitutes: Dixon, Amaechi, Gordon, Senior
Referee: Craig Hicks
Attendance: 5109 (832)