Striker comes off the bench to net the winning goal as Gills beat Plymouth to advance to round three of the FA Youth Cup.
Joe Gbode’s second half penalty proved enough for Gills to prevail to the third round of the FA Youth Cup following a hard fought 1-0 win over Plymouth Argyle at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
The striker came off the bench to seal the tie with the hosts bossing proceedings for long periods of the game. The Gills will now play Wigan Athletic at ME7 in round three.
With Gbode in action for the first-team over the weekend, he only made the bench so Josh Bayliss started through the middle in attack with Ronald Sithole and Kai Garrett for company on the wings.
Stan Skipper, Julian Kuhr and George Hutcheon operated in midfield with Taite Holtam in goal.
Gills started brightly and had an effort within the opening 40 seconds when Ronald Sithole got into the box and saw a deflected effort gathered by Zak Baker.
On 14 minutes the hosts created an excellent chance when Skipper picked out an excellent pass inside the Plymouth defence to find Garrett. He struck a first time effort and forced a fine save from Baker.
On the half hour, Sithole came within inches of testing Baker when Garrett’s cross from the left was sent into a dangerous area. The defender did well to halt the winger’s run but, off balance, he couldn’t reach it and Plymouth won a throw on the opposite flank.
H/T: Gillingham 0-0 Plymouth Argyle
Holtam made an excellent double save in the early moments of the second half. Firstly, Freddie Issaka turned inside and out from a narrow angle inside the box, he flashed a shot across Holtam who had to stick out his right hand to get the ball clear.
Jack Endacott seized a chance to hook an effort over the line but Holtam did brilliantly to get his fingertips to it before Gills cleared their lines.
With 20 minutes to go the visitors had a half chance when Will Jenkins-Davies pounced on a loose ball 25 yards from goal, he decided to shoot left footed but missed the target.
On 76 minutes Gills were given a great chance to take the lead when Sithole was fouled just inside the box after winning a 50/50 ball. The referee had no choice but to point to the spot and sub Joe Gbode, on for Bayliss, sent the keeper the wrong way to put the hosts in front.
With the clock running down Holtam was called upon to make a strong save; Gills formed a counter attack and Gbode used his strength and pace to beat two men. He received contact and hit the deck but the referee wasn’t moved and awarded only a goal-kick.
Argyle sent men forward in the closing stages to try and force extra-time but the Gills defence stood firm to preserve their clean sheet, and progress to the third round.
F/T: Gillingham 1-0 Plymouth Argyle
Gills: Holtam, Moore, Gale, Giles, Dempsey, Kuhr, Hutcheon, Skipper, Sithole, Garrett (Murray 90), Bayliss (Gbode 56).
Unused subs: Smith, Woodliffe, Clark, Taiwo-Pratt
Plymouth: Baker, Matthews, Gibbings, Fisher (Wilkes 67), Halls, Roberts, Issaka, Jenkins-Davies, Edworthy (Donovan 80), Hatch (Colwell 80), Endacott.
Unused subs: Morley, Ireland, Sullivan
Attendance: 249 (23)
Referee: Mr R Pinchback