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Match Reports

Report | Gillingham 2-1 Grimsby Town

Oli Hawkins scores a dramatic late header as Gills seal three crucial points at home to Grimsby.

14 February 2023

Match Reports

Report | Gillingham 2-1 Grimsby Town

Oli Hawkins scores a dramatic late header as Gills seal three crucial points at home to Grimsby.

14 February 2023

George Lapslie and Oli Hawkins both score their first goals for the club as Gills beat Grimsby 2-1 to climb out of the relegation places.

Oli Hawkins scored a dramatic late winner, and his first for the club, as Gills sealed three crucial points in a 2-1 win over Grimsby Town at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Tuesday night.

George Lapslie, making his first start, scored the opener just before the hour when he converted a low cross from Dom Jefferies, but Gavan Holohan equalized with 15 minutes to go and it looked as though the points would be shared.

However, with just a minute or so left on the clock, Cheye Alexander’s cross was sent into the centre of the box and Hawkins guided home a superb header beyond the helpless Max Crocombe to send the crowd into raptures.

Gills boss Neil Harris made one change to the side that lost to Mansfield at the weekend, with Shaun Williams making way for Lapslie who made his full debut in the process. With Williams on the bench, Max Ehmer was given the Captain’s armband.

Joe Gbode returned to take a seat on the subs bench alongside Aiden O’Brien and Tristan Abrahams.

As for Grimsby they named former Gills loanee Tom Dickson-Peters as one of their subs.

The early exchanges were fairly even with the hosts perhaps enjoying more of the possession without overly threatening Crocombe in the Grimsby goal.

Both sides had corner kicks but none of the set plays required intervention from either goalkeeper. It took until the 25th minute for a half opportunity to be created, with David Tutonda’s left footed strike from inside the box going comfortably wide of the post.

Eight minutes later and the visitors went close. Gills lost the ball in their own third and Grimsby pounced. Holohan found John McAtee in space, he went for goal from 20 yards out and attempted to find the top corner but struck narrowly side with Morris diving at full stretch.

The game’s tempo livened up as the half approached a close; with ten minutes to play Gills created their best opening when MacDonald played a great pass through for Lapslie who had timed his run to perfection inside the box. Rather than shoot he spotted Jefferies to his left and, with the keeper having come out, the ball was squared for the midfielder. He had an empty net to find but a recovering defender made a crucial interception to keep the score goalless.

At the other end Anthony Glennon, who had been booked earlier in the half for a foul on Masterson, went close to testing Morris when, from 20 yards, he chose power over placement with his left foot and as a result missed the target with only the keeper to beat.


H/T: Gillingham 0-0 Grimsby Town


The best chance of the game fell to Gills within the first five minutes of the second period. An Alex MacDonald corner kick was sent towards the far post; Nichols was unmarked but had little to aim at due to the ever narrowing angle but forced a fine stop from Crocombe.

With Gillingham in the ascendency they needed to make their territory count, and they did exactly that on 56 minutes when Jefferies received the ball on the left side, drove towards the byline and pulled the ball back for the oncoming Lapslie who converted from close range.

Glenn Morris had to be alert a few minutes later to deny McAtee an equalizer. From the edge of the box the striker picked his spot towards the bottom left corner and the Gills veteran had to be at full stretch to tip the effort wide for a corner which was headed clear by Hawkins.

Gills seemed to be in control of the game but, on 75 minutes, Grimsby equalized when a cross from the left hand side was headed in off the post by Holahan.

With the clock ticking down it was the hosts who asked more of the questions; Hawkins had a shot deflected for a corner, as did sub Aiden O’Brien as Grimsby began to sit deep.

Nichols forced a fine save from Crocombe but, from the next phase of play, Gills took a dramatic late lead when Alexander’s excellent cross was headed into the top corner by Hawkins.

The ball was beautifully delivered and Hawkins attacked the loose ball, guiding a superb effort beyond the helpless Grimsby keeper.


F/T: Gillingham 2-1 Grimsby Town


Gills: Morris, McKenzie, Ehmer, Masterson, Tutonda (Alexander 60), Dieng, Jefferies, MacDonald (O’Brien 72), Lapslie (Williams 73), Hawkins, Nichols.

Unused subs: Turner, Wright, Gbode, Abrahams


Grimsby: Crocombe, Efete, Glennon, Waterfall, Holohan, Lloyd, McAtee, Clifton, Morris, Smith, Maher.

Unused subs: Emmanuel, Hunt, O’Neill, Dickson-Peters, Orsi, Amos, Gallacher


Attendance: 5097 (294)

Referee: Mr Craig Hicks

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