Gills unlucky not to progress in FA Youth Cup as Preston score late to secure victory.
Preston scored a late free-kick against ten man Gills at Priestfield to progress to the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday evening.
Gills had been on top for the majority of the second half and opposing keeper James Pradic had to make two excellent saves to prevent Preston from going behind, before Kian Best’s left footed strike from 20 yards sealed victory, minutes after Alex Giles had been sent off for a second bookable offence.
Mark Moss added Matty Macarthur to his starting XI for the fixture, joining Ronald Sithole and Joe Gbode in attack. Harry Bridle was cup tied with Josh Bayliss providing an attacking option from the bench.
Supporters had hardly had chance to take their seats when the home side took the lead. Sithole found space on the right side and received an excellent floated ball over the top into his path, his first touch gave him the opportunity to shoot and he thundered an effort beyond James Pradic.
Jacob Slater and Noah Mawene both had half chances for the visitors in the exchanges that followed, but neither effort tested Holtam in a meaningful capacity.
However, on 22 minutes, Taite was beaten when he came for a high ball to his right side. Felipe Rodreguiz-Gentile just got there first and lifted an effort over the advancing keeper and into the back of the net.
Six minutes later and Preston had a great chance to get themselves in front; Finley Cross-Adair found half a yard of space inside the penalty area and shot across Holtam as the keeper came out to narrow the gap. The ball got past him, but it also cleared the post.
Before the break Mark Moss’ men were dealt a blow when Elliott Moore was stretchered off with a serious looking leg injury.
H/T: Gillingham 1-1 Preston
The start of the half was fairly quiet but the game came back to life on the hour when Joe Gbode was released through on goal, the goalkeeper rushed out to clear but only succeeded in fouling the striker. Luckily for him, one of his defenders had retreated and got himself into a position to ensure the keeper only got a yellow card for his efforts.
Two minutes later and Pradic, who had stayed on the field, made two magnificent saves to prevent Gills from talking the lead. A powerful effort from Sithole came off the keeper’s chest before a low effort from Macarthur was also kept out.
Four minutes later and Cross-Adair had a good chance to give Preston the lead; he got through one-on-one but with Sam Gale sprinting back the forward had to get his shot away quickly and Holtam made a strong stop.
With the clock ticking down the hosts were reduced to ten men when Alex Giles was dismissed for a second bookable offence. Josh Woodliffe was immediately introduced with Matty Macarthur making way.
Preston won a free-kick with four minutes remaining and made the most of it when Kian Best’s left footed effort took a slight deflection before finding its way past Holtam.
F/T: Gillingham 1-2 Preston
Gills: Holtam, Moore (Taiwo-Pratt 36), Gale, Giles, Dempsey, Kuhr, Skipper, Garrett (de Wilde 46), Sithole, Macarthur (Woodliffe 82), Gbode
Unused subs: T Smith, Woodliffe, Taiwo-Pratt, Waldock, Bayliss, de Wilde.
Preston : Pradic, Wallbank, Slater, Kamara, Taylor, Best, Seary, Mawene (Wilson 90), Cross-Adair, Nelson, Rodreguiz-Gentile
Unused subs: McGhee, Davis, Pemberton, Horan, Eccleston, Havard
Referee: Mr A Farmer