Gills leave Newport empty handed.
Priestley Farquharson scored a brace as Newport beat Gillingham 2-0 at Rodney Parade on Saturday afternoon.
Neil Harris made three changes following the midweek FA Cup win against AFC Fylde. Will Wright, Ben Reeves and Mikael Mandron came into the starting XI. Stuart O’Keefe and Scott Kashket dropped to the bench, while Ryan Law missed out.
The hosts came very close to taking an early lead. They went short from a corner before passing their way into the penalty area. The ball was played to Omar Bogle, who aimed his shot towards the bottom corner. As it was heading goalward, it took a deflection, but Jake Turner was on hand to get low and push it off the line.
Wright came close to giving Gillingham the lead midway through the half as he forced Joe Day into a save with a speculative effort. A header was eventually headed as far as the defender who chested it down before striking it on the half-volley. The effort looked as if it was looping in but Day did well to push it over for a corner.
From the resulting set play, Reeves’ ball was headed goalward by Shaun Williams. It hit the foot of the near post before coming back to the midfielder, who drilled it into the six-yard box. Max Ehmer got on the end of it, but his shot cannoned off the crossbar as Gills came inches away to take the lead twice in a matter of seconds.
Former Gills loanee Declan Drysdale had a good chance to score for Newport from a corner at the other end. Aaron Lewis directed a delivery towards the six-yard box, and it was met by the head of the centre-back, who could not keep his effort down as it went high and wide of the target.
Priestley Farquharson gave Newport the lead in the 43rd minute. He rose the highest from Lewis’ corner and headed it goalwards. Turner got contact on the ball but was unable to stop it crossing the line.
HALF-TIME: Newport County 1-0 Gillingham
O’Keefe replaced Cheye Alexander at half-time as Gillingham changed shape to a 4-4-2 diamond.
However the hosts doubled their lead in the 56th minute. Mickey Demetriou’s long throw was flicked on by Cam Norman. On its way to goal, it took a touch off a player and bounced into the bottom corner out of the reach of Turner. Despite it being unclear as to who got the final touch, Farquharson was credited with his second of the afternoon.
O’Keefe had a big chance to get Gills back into the game as the ball found its way to him in a central position inside the penalty area. Unfortunately, his shot was straight at Day, who saved with his feet as he came out to narrow the angle.
In the 74th minute, Bogle almost made it three. He did well to hold off a Gillingham defender before rolling the ball onto his left foot and aiming his shot towards the near post. However, he could not hit the target and dragged his effort wide.
Gills had a great opportunity to score in the 79th minute. The ball was played towards Wright, who played a testing low-driven ball across the six-yard box. However, no one was there to put the ball goalward from just a few yards out.
FULL-TIME: Newport County 2-0 Gillingham
Newport County: Day, Norman (Dolan 71’), Drysdale, Farquharson, Bogle (Collins 81’), Waite, Lewis, Bennett, Moriah-Welsh, Demetriou, Evans
Unused Substitutes: Townsend, Willmott, Zimba, Nevers, Lewis
Gillingham: Turner, Wright, Ehmer, Baggott, Alexander (O’Keefe 46’), Jefferies (MacDonald 60’), Williams, McKenzie, Reeves (Kashket 60’), Mandron, Walker (Green 69’)
Unused Substitutes: Holtam, Mnoga, Adelakun
Referee: Ollie Yates
Attendance: 4300 (371 Gillingham supporters)