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Report | Gillingham 2-0 Tranmere Rovers

Shaun Williams and Conor Masterson both find the target as Gills get back to winning ways at Priestfield.

11 March 2023

Gills win their fifth home game in six to add three important points to their tally.

Shaun Williams and Conor Masterson were on the scoresheet as Gillingham beat Tranmere Rovers 2-0 at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday.

Williams opened the scoring after 32 minutes as he headed Alex MacDonald’s corner beyond Joe Murphy at his near post.

The midfielder then played a vital role in the second goal as Gills put the game to bed. With less than ten minutes remaining, Williams did brilliantly carrying on with the play after going down under a challenge before taking the ball to the byline and cutting it back in the direction of the six-yard box. Aiden O’Brien stepped over the ball, allowing Masterson to thump the ball into the back of the net from six yards out.

Neil Harris made four changes to the side that held Stockport County to a goalless draw in midweek. Williams, Alex MacDonald, George Lapslie and Oli Hawkins came into the starting XI, while Will Wright, Ethan Coleman, Dom Jefferies and Tristan Abrahams dropped to the bench.

A Gills long throw into the penalty area caused Tranmere some issues in the 11th minute. Cheye Alexander’s throw-in was flicked towards the goal by Timothee Dieng, which forced Joe Murphy to backpedal and punch clear. However, the linesman’s flag was raised for offside as Tom Nichols was in an offside position.

In the 17th minute, a Williams header caused Murphy a problem. MacDonald’s corner from the right was sent deep into the penalty area, where Williams headed goalward. It caught Murphy off guard with a couple of players obstructing his view, but he gathered it at the second attempt.

Gills kept Murphy busy as David Tutonda’s cross forced him into action. The left-back did well to intercept a pass before running into the acres of space down the left. Tutonda got into the penalty area before playing the ball across the goal, but it was too close to Murphy, who managed to push it just wide of the post before the visitors cleared their lines.

In the 32nd minute, Williams headed Gillingham in front. MacDonald’s corner from the right was floated towards the back post, where Williams was waiting in acres of space. The midfielder did brilliantly timing his run as he arched around towards the back post and was there to head beyond Murphy at his near post.

 

HALF-TIME: Gillingham 1-0 Tranmere Rovers

 

Nichols had a good opportunity a few minutes into the second half. MacDonald’s cross from the right saw Nichols rise the highest as he directed a header towards the goal. Unfortunately, it did not have enough power to truly test Murphy, as he caught the ball from the air.

Nichols came close again just after the hour. MacDonald blocked an attempted clearance from the visitors, and Hawkins played the ball back to the midfielder, who lofted it towards the back post from the edge of the box. Nichols did well to rise highest and get a head on the ball but sent it wide of the post, leaving Murphy untroubled.

Gillingham’s hearts were in their mouths in the 64th minute. Joel Mumbongo and Morris both went up to compete for Josh Dacres-Cogley’s cross into the box. Mumbongo won the duel, which left the Gillingham goalkeeper on the floor with the goal to aim at. Fortunately, the referee awarded a free-kick as Max Ehmer cleared an attempt off the line.

Dieng had a golden chance to double the Gillingham advantage. MacDonald’s curling corner from the left found the run of Dieng at the back post. Unfortunately, he could not get his header on target and it flashed across the goal and wide of the post.

In the 68th minute, Gills made two changes as Aiden O’Brien and Dom Jefferies replaced Nichols and Lapslie respectively.

In the 83rd minute, Conor Masterson made it two with his first goal for Gillingham. Williams showed great persistence after going down under a challenge to continue and get to the byline before cutting the ball back towards the six-yard box. O’Brien smartly jumped over the ball for Masterson, who was in acres of space on the edge of the six-yard box, to thump it into the back of the net.

Jefferies tried his luck moments later with a half-volley from just outside the penalty area, but it was straight at Murphy, who comfortably made the save.

 

FULL-TIME: Gillingham 2-0 Tranmere Rovers

 

Gillingham: Morris, Alexander, Ehmer, Masterson, Tutonda, Williams, Dieng (Wright 90’), MacDonald (Coleman 85’), Lapslie (Jefferies 68’), Hawkins (Abrahams 90’), Nichols (O’Brien 68’)

Unused Substitutes: Turner

Tranmere Rovers: Murphy, Dacres-Cogley, Jameson, Turnbull, Bristow, Hawkes (Chalmers 77’), Merrie, Hendry, O’Connor, Saunders, Burton (Mumbongo 54’)

Unused Substitutes: Hewelt, Fisher, Turner-Cooke

 

Referee: Andy Woolmer

 

Attendance: 5674 (267)


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