Will de Wilde, Jimmy Heasman and Ben Clark on target as Gills defeat Eastleigh at Priestfield.
Gillingham booked their place in round three of the FA Youth Cup by defeating Eastleigh 3-1 at Priestfield on Thursday night.
Two quickfire goals late in the second half deservedly gave Mark Moss’ men the victory, and they will play Oxford at home in the next round.
Will de Wilde opened the scoring with an excellent strike from 20+ yards, but Joe Ryan equalized just after the hour mark.
Gills pushed Eastleigh back as the game went on and it was Jimmy Heasman who got the second goal following a long throw from Joshua Bayliss, with sub Ben Clark bagging a third.
Mark Moss had to do without Stan Skipper who was injured, and with Harry Bridle also out of action, it meant the front line consisted of Kai Garrett, Bayliss, and Jimmy Heasman.
Harry Webster played in a more advanced midfield role with Logan Dobbs at right-back and Jonah Walker at left-back.
Eastleigh started the game well and it was Kyran Samadi who was the first to try his luck, from the edge of the box he tried to find the inside of the post with a powerful effort, however Tobey Smith was able to watch it strike the side netting. A weaker effort from Joe Ryan shortly afterwards was comfortably gathered.
Smith was called upon again on 11 minutes and on this occasion made an excellent stop to deny Samadi. The forward had space from 20 yards and aimed an effort for the top right corner. Smith dived to his left and made an excellent save, the resulting corner coming back out to Bobby Gorman and the keeper punched clear his wide delivery.
The visitors had another chance on the quarter hour, this time it was Yuvraj Landa who pounced on a loose pass and he drove into space. From the edge of the area his right footed shot was across Smith, but also wide of the post.
Gills sparked into life on 17 minutes when a positive turn and run from Joshua Bayliss gave him the chance to shoot from 25 yards. The effort was deflected and away for a corner which Eastleigh dealt with.
Bayliss was involved again soon after when Garrett released him on the left side, his shot caught Oliver Harrison off guard and he spilled it for a corner which Bayliss met, however it struck the outside of his boot and the defence cleared.
A few minutes later Walker got forward on the left wing and picked out Webster who was unmarked on the edge of the area. His precise effort towards the bottom corner went inches wide of the post.
On 38 minutes Gills, having progressively applied more pressure, took the lead thanks to a brilliant Will de Wilde strike. Thirty yards out he drove forward, looked left and right before deciding to go it alone. His right footed effort flew past Harrison and into the corner.
As the half drew to a close Eastleigh were given a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Sam Godfroy stepped up and his effort clipped the top of the bar.
H/T: Gillingham 1-0 Eastleigh
Gills picked up where they left off and, in general, bossed proceedings in the early parts of the second half. However, the visitors scored with their first attack on goal. A ball over the top set Joe Ryan through, Smith came out to block an initial effort. He did so, but the ball landed at the feet of the Eastleigh forward who couldn’t miss from a few yards out.
Ryan had a great chance a few minutes later to double their lead but Smith made an excellent double save to ensure the game stayed level.
As the half progressed Gills began to exert their authority again and deservedly retook the lead on 80 minutes when a long throw from Bayliss was flicked on at the near post and Heasman gambled by getting in front of his man and firing home from close range.
Straight from kick-off the hosts netted a third and it was Ben Clark who won possession high up the pitch with no defender in sight and he guided the ball beyond the oncoming Oliver Harrison.
Gills nearly had a fourth but Leighton Murray’s late strike was well saved by Harrison.
FT: Gillingham 3-1 Eastleigh
Gills: Smith, Dobbs (Clark 64), Taiwo-Pratt, Woodliffe, Walker, de Wilde, Waldock (White 90), Webster, Bayliss, Heasman, Garrett
Unused subs: Hegarty, Khumba, Murray, Beszant, Dayal
Eastleigh: Harrison, Godfroy, Colvin, Aitken, Gorman, Pickles, Landa (Duell Merritt 82), Manhony, Brackley (Ford 90), Samadi, Ryan
Unused subs: Bartram, Bristow, Pothas, Aldridge, Britton
Referee: Mr D David