Gills beat Dagenham & Redbridge in final pre-season friendly.
Shad Ogie’s second-half header proved to be the winner as Gillingham capped off their pre-season campaign with a 1-0 win against Dagenham & Redbridge at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.
The goal came after Max Clark’s free-kick was headed goalward by Josh Hare, forcing Elliot Justham into a save at full stretch. The rebound sat perfectly for Ogie, who headed home from a couple of yards out.
Ashley Nadesan started for Gillingham after signing from Crawley Town on Thursday. Jake Turner started in goal with Max Ehmer and Shad Ogie at the heart of the defence.
Dagenham & Redbridge had a host of former Gills players in their squad, with Josh Hare, Jake Hessenthaler, Josh Rees and Lewis Page all in their starting XI. Myles Weston, who played a vital role in Gillingham’s League Two title victory during the 2012/13 season, was among the substitutes.
Tim Dieng forced Elliot Justham into a big save in the 22nd minute after some fine play from the Gills. Dom Jefferies got the ball down the left and cut inside to play it back to Max Clark, who found Tom Nichols inside the box. Nichols played it back for Dieng to strike a fierce effort towards the bottom left corner, but Justham was equal to it as he got solid hands onto it to palm away.
The rebound fell to Nadesan, who could not adjust in time, and fired over the bar from around eight yards out.
Nichols saw a shot blocked in the 32nd minute after Jayden Clarke had the ball down the right wing. Clarke took it forward before playing it to Nichols, who went inside on his left foot. He produced a powerful strike, but it was well blocked by a Dagenham defender.
Gills had a great opportunity to take the lead through Jefferies just before half-time. The midfielder was lurking around the edge of the box, and a 50/50 challenge resulted in the ball running favourably in the midfielder’s direction. He took it into the penalty area before shooting goalward. Unfortunately, his low-driven shot was too central as Justham saved with his legs before the hosts dealt with the second ball.
HALF-TIME: Dagenham & Redbridge 0-0 Gillingham
Weston came on for Dagenham at half-time and caused Turner issues from a corner. It was an inswinging one from the right, which he put right onto Turner, who had a crowd of players around him. The Gills keeper had to make sure he got a solid hand onto the ball to push it behind for another corner, which came to nothing.
In the 52nd minute, Ogie headed Gillingham in front. Clark curled a free-kick from the left into the box, which Josh Hare flicked towards his own goal. It forced Justham into a diving save as he had to stretch to push the ball away. The rebound fell favourably to Ogie, who headed into the back of the net from a couple of yards out.
Hare almost found an immediate response for the Daggers with a free-kick. The ball was placed in a central position 25 yards from the goal, and the defender curled the ball towards the top corner, but Turner was equal to it as he got across to push it over the crossbar.
In the 65th minute, Neil Harris made his first two changes, with Robbie McKenzie and Scott Malone replacing Max Clark and Jayden Clarke. That meant Gills went to a back five with Cheye Alexander and Malone at wing backs.
Dieng had a good chance to double the Gillingham advantage with a little over 15 minutes remaining. Malone had the ball down the left and played it inside to Nichols, who was inside the penalty area. The forward turned and passed it back to Dieng, who struck the ball over the bar from 18 yards out.
Alexander had a half-chance with ten minutes remaining. Nichols did brilliantly to send the wing-back down the line with acres of space to move into inside the Gillingham half. Alexander surged towards the edge of the Dagenham box before shooting wide with his left foot.
The Dagenham & Redbridge trialist forced Turner into an impressive save as the hosts went in search of an equaliser. The trialist received the ball just inside the penalty area and moved the ball onto his left foot before bending a shot towards the far top corner. Turner did well to make the diving save, as he clawed it away from the goal before the Gills cleared their lines.
Frank Vincent had a good opportunity in the final moments. Sydney Ibie went on a run down the left before playing it to Vincent, who did well in creating space for himself. He then struck a powerful low-driven effort towards the bottom corner, but Turner did well to get down to the shot and held onto the ball.
FULL-TIME: Dagenham & Redbridge 0-1 Gillingham
Dagenham & Redbridge: Justham, Hare, Eastman, Hessenthaler, Vincent, Rees (Ibie 46’), Effiong (Blair 79’), Page, Phipps (Kendall 68’), Ling (Weston 46’), Trialist D
Unused Substitutes: Strizovic, Tavares
Gillingham: Turner, Alexander, Ehmer, Ogie, Clark (McKenzie 65’), Coleman, Dieng, Jefferies Lapslie 79’), Clarke (Malone 65’), Nichols (Gbode 89’), Nadesan
Unused Substitutes: Morris, Chambers