Shaun Williams (2), Dom Jefferies, Tim Dieng and Jayden Clarke all find the target for Gills in a 5-0 pre-season friendly win over Dartford.
Shaun Williams scored a first-half brace as Gillingham beat Dartford 5-0 at Princes Park in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.
Williams opened the scoring after nine minutes when his deflected volley found the back of the net. Tim Dieng made it two after he slotted George Lapslie’s cut back into the far bottom corner from inside the penalty area.
The Gillingham captain scored his second when he headed Cheye Alexander’s corner beyond Mitchell Beeney.
Gills continued their dominance as Dom Jefferies added a fourth shortly after half-time. Jayden Clarke and Alexander combined down the right before a cross found Jefferies at the back post, where he peeled away from his marker before placing the ball into the back of the net.
With five minutes remaining, Clarke added a fifth as he capped off a fantastic team move. Will Wright picked out Robbie McKenzie down the right with an excellent pass that allowed the right-back to get in behind. He cut the ball back for Jonny Williams, who picked out Clarke in space, and he slotted the ball into an empty net.
Gillingham started with Shad Ogie in the heart of the defence alongside Max Ehmer, while Jayden Clarke, George Lapslie and Dom Jefferies played behind Joe Gbode, who led the line.
Tim Dieng had Gillingham’s first opportunity after Clarke dispossessed a Dartford defender high up the pitch. The winger made his way towards the penalty area before playing the ball to Dieng, who shot from a difficult angle. It was a low-driven effort, which was saved by the legs of Mitchell Beeney.
Shaun Williams tested Beeney moments later. Max Clark’s cross from the left was cleared as far as the Gills captain, who shot on the half-volley. It had some power but was right into the stomach of the Dartford stopper.
Williams opened the scoring in the ninth minute. Clark’s cross into the box was in the direction of Lapslie, but the ball was headed away. Fortunately for Gillingham, it went as far as Williams, who struck the ball on the volley. It took a fortuitous deflection and it found the back of the net, sending Beeney the wrong way.
Dieng doubled the Gillingham lead in the 19th minute after a good passage of play. Jefferies had the ball on the left corner of the penalty area before passing it to Lapslie, who was on the overlap. The midfielder then cut the ball back for Dieng, who slotted the ball into the far bottom corner.
The hosts had a penalty appeal in the 29th minute when an attempted cross struck Cheye Alexander. The Dartford players appealed for a handball, but the referee stood firm and awarded just a corner.
In the 35th minute, Williams scored his second. Alexander curled a corner towards the near post which Williams got on the end of, thumping his header beyond Beeney.
Turner was called into action moments later as he did brilliantly to save Harvey Bradbury’s header from inside the box. There was a moment of panic as the Gills keeper landed awkwardly, but fortunately, he was okay and fine to continue.
Dartford rattled the Gillingham crossbar shortly before half-time as they looked to get a goal back. Luke Coulson’s cross from the right found the head of Lewis Manor, who thumped a header towards the goal. It smacked the face of the bar before bouncing back out into a cluster of players. Tommy Block then headed goalward, but there was a Gillingham player on the line to head behind for a corner.
HALF-TIME: Dartford 0-3 Gillingham
Neil Harris made two changes at half-time as Ethan Coleman and Jonny Williams replaced Shaun Williams and Lapslie respectively.
Coulson forced Turner into a diving save in the opening seconds of the second half. He struck the ball from distance, forcing the Gills keeper to get across and push the ball over the bar for a corner, which came to nothing.
Soon after, Jefferies made it four. Ogie played a great long diagonal pass to the right, which saw Alexander and Clarke combine before the ball was played towards the back post. Jefferies did well to lose his marker before slotting into the back of the net.
In the 56th minute, Gbode hit the woodwork. He had the ball on the edge of the penalty area before cutting inside on his right foot and shooting goalward. It took a deflection, sending it towards the near post, where it hit the face of the woodwork before the hosts cleared away.
Gbode came close again when the ball fell to him inside the penalty area. His strike was blocked and went behind for a corner, where Alexander forced a great save from Beeney.
Clark passed the ball out towards the right-back, who ran onto the ball to strike it first time. He curled it towards the far top corner, and Beeney had to be at full stretch to push it wide of the post.
Gills made four changes in the 73rd minute as Alexander, Ogie, Jefferies and Gbode made way for Robbie McKenzie, Conor Masterson, Ronald Sithole and Tom Nichols.
Clarke almost added a fifth after Nichols did well to make his way down the right wing. He played it inside for Jonny Williams, who played it to Clarke. The winger was in acres of space and curled a first-time shot towards the goal. However, it was well-saved by Beeney, who was quick to get down and palm away.
Nichols almost caught Beeney out seconds later when the hosts attempted to clear the rebound. The Gillingham forward was quick to close down the clearance, and it looped back towards goal, but the Dartford keeper caught it.
Clarke capped off a fantastic team goal in the 85th minute. Will Wright, who had replaced Dieng shortly beforehand, played a brilliant first-time pass from the centre of the field that allowed McKenzie to get in behind the Dartford defence. He took the ball on before playing it back to Jonny Williams, who was quick to square it to Clarke. The winger had the entire goal to aim at as he slotted into the back of an empty net.
FULL-TIME: Dartford 0-5 Gillingham
Dartford: Beeney, Wynter (Rooney 63’), Odaudu (Rabbetts 58’), Block (Adebowale 69’), Miller-Rodney (Whitefield 80’), Altintop, Coulson (Herschel 80’), Manor (Box 73’), Bradbury, Barzey (Boulton 85’), Nembhard
Unused Substitutes: Wall, Wray
Gillingham: Turner, Alexander (McKenzie 73’), Ehmer, Ogie (Masterson 73’), Clark, S.Williams (Coleman 46’), Dieng (Wright 83’), Clarke (Chambers 85’), Lapslie (J.Williams 46’), Jefferies (Sithole 73’), Gbode (Nichols 73’)
Unused Substitutes: Morris
Referee: Isaac Searle