Mikael Mandron comes off the bench to score the equalizer before Gills hold their nerve to knock out Premier League Brentford on penalties.
Gillingham caused a major cup shock by beating Brentford on penalties as Mikael Mandron’s second-half equaliser sent the game to a shootout at the Gtech Community Stadium.
Brentford took an early lead through Ivan Toney. Mikkel Damsgaard beat the offside trap following a long ball forward and slipped the ball across for Toney to slot into the back of an empty net.
Gillingham equalised with their best chance of the game on 75 minutes. Mikael Mandron latched onto Alex MacDonald’s cross to head the ball beyond David Raya at his near post.
The game ended 1-1 and went to penalties, where Gills scored all six of theirs. Mikkel Damsgaard took Brentford’s sixth, where he hit the crossbar to send the away end into raptures.
Neil Harris made three changes to the side that drew at AFC Fylde. Jake Turner, Shaun Williams and Jordan Green came into the starting XI, while Scott Kashket, Alex MacDonald and Mikael Mandron dropped to the bench.
Max Ehmer missed the game due to suspension, while Stuart O’Keefe managed to recover from his tight quad in time for the game.
Ivan Toney gave Brentford the lead in the third minute. Mikkel Damsgaard managed to beat the offside trap as the hosts played a long ball forward. He found himself one-on-one with Turner but opted to square to Toney, who slotted it into the back of an empty net.
Christian Norgaard forced Turner into a save in the 20th minute. Brentford caught Gillingham out by dinking a free-kick into the box beyond the Gills defence. Norgaard was the one who reacted quickest and struck it first time. Fortunately, it was straight into the stomach of Turner.
Damsgaard came inches away from making it 2-0 on the half-hour mark. Frank Onyeka curled a cross into the box, where Damsgaard managed to get free and flick the ball goalward. There was a moment of panic as it went just wide of the far post.
Toney came close to making it two but was denied by Turner from close range after a cross into the box from Keane Lewis-Potter. The rebound sat for Saman Ghoddos to head goalward, but his header hit the outside of the bar before going out for a goal kick.
HALF-TIME: Brentford 1-0 Gillingham
Gills continued to battle hard in the second half as they restricted Brentford to next to nothing. Lewis Walker continued to battle from the front as he won headers and held up the ball, while the Gills midfield and defence pressed.
Toney missed a great chance to double The Bees' lead. Josh Dasilva, who replaced Norgaard at half-time, played the ball through for the striker. Toney drilled his effort across the goal towards the far corner, but it fizzed just wide of the post.
Onyeka tried his luck from the edge of the area as he tried to curl an effort towards the top corner. It initially appeared as if it would not test Turner, but it took a dip at the final second. It forced the Gills keeper to push the ball over the bar to ensure the scores remained 1-0.
In the 75th minute, Mikael Mandron sent the away end into raptures. Cheye Alexader latched onto a loose ball down the right and played it back to Alex MacDonald, who replaced Green seconds beforehand. He curled an excellent ball into the penalty area, where Mandron got across to head goalward. He directed his header towards the near post as it beat David Raya to nestle into the back of the net.
In the 89th minute, Turner pulled off a sensational save to deny Ethan Pinnock. A corner was played into the box as Pinnock rose the highest to head it goalward. It appeared to take a deflection as Turner dived the other way. However, he somehow hooked his foot towards the ball as he managed to pull off the incredible save.
FULL-TIME: Brentford 1-1 Gillingham
The game went to penalties, where both teams saw all five of their first penalties scored. Alex MacDonald made it 6-5 to Gillingham as his penalty cannoned off the underside of the crossbar before going into the back of the net. Damsgaard took Brentford’s sixth but his effort hit the crossbar to cause bedlam amongst the 2000 plus Gills supporters.
Brentford: Raya, Roerslev (Mbeumo 81’), Pinnock, Zanka, Henry (Jensen 61’), Norgaard (Dasilva 46’), Onyeka (Yarmoliuk 72’), Damsgaard, Ghoddos, Lewis-Potter, Toney
Unused Substitutes: Cox, Mee, Crama, Trevitt, Gilbert
Gillingham: Turner, McKenzie, Wright, Baggott, Law, O’Keefe, Jefferies (Kashket 90’), Williams (Alexander 65’), Green (MacDonald 74’), Adelakun, Walker (Mandron 65’)
Unused Substitutes: Morris, Akehurst, Gbode
Referee: Tim Robinson
Attendance: 16278 (2163)