Gills progress in the Emirates FA Cup.
Jayden Clarke and Tom Nichols were both on the scoresheet as Gillingham beat Hereford 2-0 at Edgar Street to qualify for the second round of the Emirates FA Cup.
Clarke gave the Gills a deserved lead in the 23rd minute when his shot from the edge of the penalty area deflected past Curtis Pond.
The hosts enjoyed much of the possession in the second half as they went in search of an equaliser, but it was Gillingham who found a late second through Nichols.
The forward latched onto Max Clark’s ball into the penalty area, taking it beyond Pond before he was taken down. Nichols remained composed as he slotted his spot kick into the bottom right corner, with the Hereford goalkeeper going the other way.
Stephen Clemence went with an unchanged starting XI for his first game in charge. Lewis Walker returned to the matchday squad after returning from his loan spell at Woking.
Scott Malone had the first opportunity of the game when he fired into the side netting. Clarke’s cross from the right found the delayed run of Malone. He took a touch before shooting towards the near post, hitting the side netting.
Clarke had a great chance in the fifth minute. A pass to the feet of Jonny Williams was dummied by the former Welsh international, allowing Clarke to latch onto the loose ball. He made his way into the penalty area, evading a couple of challenges before shooting goalward. Unfortunately, he could not make clear contact, sending it wide of the far post.
Malone forced Curtis Pond into a save when Jonny Williams laid the ball back for the left-back to shoot first time. It was a low-driven effort directed towards the far corner, but Pond got down to push it behind for a corner, which came to nothing.
Gillingham continued to apply pressure on the Hereford goal, with Jonny Williams forcing Pond into another save. Alexander’s cross into the box just went over the head of Clarke, and it came to Jonny Williams, who volleyed with his back to the goal. He struck an acrobatic effort goalward, but it was straight at Pond.
In the 23rd minute, Clarke gave the Gills the lead. He had the ball down the right with the option to play it wide to Alexander on the overlap but opted to cut inside into a central position. He had plenty of space in front of him and shot goalward with a left-footed effort. Pond had gone to his left, but the ball took a deflection, sending it into the middle of the net.
Connor Mahoney came inches away from doubling the visitors' advantage ten minutes later. He received the ball inside the penalty area with the time and space to take a touch before curling a left-footed effort towards the far post. It beat Pond in The Bulls' goal before hitting the post, with a Hereford defender clearing the rebound.
HALF-TIME: Hereford 0-1 Gillingham
Ethan Freemantle fired wide of the near post for Hereford on the hour. Lassana Mendes made a bursting run into the Gillingham half before playing a through ball for Freemantle to latch onto. He took a touch before firing goalward, blasting his effort into the side netting at Jake Turner’s near post.
In the 64th minute a vital Gillingham block denied Freemantle from equalising. A Hereford cross dropped to the striker, who shot from close range. His effort looked destined to hit the target before a Gills defender came in to get the crucial touch, sending it behind for a corner.
Moments later, Shaun Williams and Tom Nichols replaced Jonny Williams and Macauley Bonne respectively.
Kyle Howkins had a half-chance for the hosts when a Hereford corner from the left found the head of the defender. Fortunately from a Gills perspective his header at the back post proved a simple claim for Turner.
In the 83rd minute, Shad Ogie forced Pond into another important stop. The defender won possession on the edge of the Gillingham penalty area before driving forward, getting beyond a couple of challenges. Ogie found himself 25 yards from the goal, opting to shoot, but his powerful strike was too central, stinging Pond’s palms, but he made the save.
In the 84th minute, Gills made two more changes, with Max Clark replacing Malone. Tim Dieng made his return to action coming on for Clarke.
Clark made an immediate impact as Gillingham won a penalty. He sent a ball towards the Hereford penalty area for Nichols to chase, and he latched onto the through ball, knocking it beyond Pond. After taking it past the goalkeeper, he was brought down, leaving the referee no choice but to point to the penalty spot.
Nichols took the penalty himself and, after a length delay, remained composed, slotting the spot kick into the right bottom corner, with Pond diving the opposite way.
In the sixth minute of stoppage time, Walker made his first appearance of the season, replacing Mahoney.
FULL-TIME: Hereford 0-2 Gillingham
Hereford: Pond, Livingstone (Tolley 87’), Cameron, Howkins (Rooney 87’), Southern, Skinner (Cranston 87’), Mendes, Teixeira, Babos (Stanley 57’), Ceesay, Freemantle (Cowley 71’)
Unused Substitute: Sterry, Arthur
Gillingham: Turner, Alexander, Masterson, Ogie, Malone (Clark 84’), Jefferies, Coleman, Mahoney (Walker 90+6’), J. Williams (S. Williams 65’), Clarke (Dieng 84’), Bonne (Nichols 65’)
Unused Substitutes: Morris, Ehmer, Orji, Macarthur
Referee: Ollie Yeates
Attendance: 4436 (370 Gills supporters)