Super sub Alex MacDonald heads home a late winner as Gills clinch victory over Sutton.
Alex MacDonald was the man of the hour as he scored a stoppage-time winner as Gillingham beat Sutton United 1-0 at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday.
The goal came after Kashket’s initial effort was saved by Lewis Ward. The rebound sat perfectly for MacDonald, and he was the first to react to head into an empty net.
Neil Harris made two changes to the side that drew 0-0 at Hartlepool. Jordan Green and Cheye Alexander returned to the starting XI as Stuart O’Keefe, and Ben Reeves missed out. Elkan Baggott was named amongst the substitutes as he returned from international duty.
Glenn Morris was called into action in the eighth minute as he denied Josh Neufville. The Sutton man cut inside on his left foot before shooting across the goal. Morris did well to palm it away from danger before Gills cleared their lines.
In the 15th minute, Scott Kashket got in behind the Sutton defence before slotting the ball into the bottom corner. Unfortunately, the joy was short-lived as he was in an offside position.
Kashket had a good opportunity as he latched onto a through ball shortly afterwards. He tried to lob Lewis Ward, but the keeper was equal to it as he made the save.
Gills had the ball in the net again as Ryan Law’s effort found the bottom corner. However, the referee had awarded Sutton a free-kick as Mikael Mandron attempted an overhead shot.
In the 39th minute, Gillingham had their third goal ruled out of the half. A free-kick was played down the line for Kashket to latch onto. He played a low-driven ball across the box, and Mandron was there to slot into an empty net. However, the linesman’s flag was up for offside as he ruled Kashket was in an offside position.
HALF-TIME: Gillingham 0–0 Sutton United
Kashket had a good opportunity in the 68th minute. Alex MacDonald, who replaced Green at half-time, took a quick throw to the striker in acres of space. He made his way towards the box before shooting towards the far corner. It took a deflection as it went out for a corner, which came to nothing.
Hakeeb Adelakun had a half chance with 12 minutes to go as his first-time effort flashed wide of the target.
Moments later, there were hearts in mouths for Gillingham. A ball into the box was aimed for Omar Bugiel. He went for a header, but a Gills defender managed to get their head on it as it went behind for a corner. It appeared as if it was going to loop into the top corner, but fortunately, it went just wide of the goal.
Lewis Walker replaced Mandron in the 81st minute and had a half chance. He got on the end of Adelakun’s low-drilled cross and had to shoot on the turn. However, he could not direct his shot towards the target as it went wide of Ward’s goal.
Gills came close twice in a matter of moments. MacDonald’s corner tested Ward as he had to palm away. The second chance came after a cross into the box was met by Adelakun as his sliding effort was saved by the legs of the Sutton keeper and went out for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Will Wright was denied by Ward. Williams went short from a corner and then received the ball back as he curled it into the box. The ball eventually found its way to Wright as he tried his luck with a low-drilled effort. However, it was too central as Ward made the save.
In stoppage time, MacDonald became the late hero. The ball was played to Kashket in acres of space in a great shooting position, and he saw his shot saved by Ward. The rebound sat perfectly for MacDonald as he headed into the back of an empty net to send Priestfield into raptures.
FULL-TIME: Gillingham 1-0 Sutton United
Gillingham: Morris, Alexander, Wright, Ehmer, Law, Adelakun, McKenzie, Williams, Green (MacDonald 46’), Kashket (Baggott 90’), Mandron (Walker 81’)
Unused Substitutes: Turner, Mnoga, Gbode
Sutton United: Ward, Kizzi, John, Rowe, Milsom, Neufville, Beautyman (Barden 89’), Eastmond, Randall (Boldewijn 81’), Bugiel (Thomas 89’), Kouassi (Kendall 67’)
Unused Substitutes: House, Lovatt, Pierre
Referee: David Rock
Attendance: 4153 (255 Sutton supporters)