Gills suffer defeat in EFL Trophy group stage tie.
Abu Kamara scored the pick of the goals as four second half efforts saw Portsmouth beat Gillingham 5-1 at Fratton Park in the EFL Trophy.
Ike Orji and Matty Macarthur made their full Gillingham debuts. Glenn Morris, Max Ehmer and Max Clark also started the fixture, with Ronald Sithole, Josh Chambers, Sam Gale, Alex Giles and Stan Skipper named among the substitutes.
The Gills started the opening five minutes on the front foot, getting the ball into positive areas around the Portsmouth penalty area. However, they could not muster an opportunity to test Ryan Schofield in the home goal.
Morris did well to deny Tino Anjorin in the tenth minute. Christian Saydee played Anjorin through on goal, who was one-on-one with Morris. The Gillingham goalkeeper did well to get off his line before making the save.
Moments later, Pompey took the lead through Tino Anjorin. A corner into the box found its way to Anjorin, who did well to shield the ball away from his marker with his back to the goal. The Portsmouth midfielder then struck an overhead kick beyond Morris from around six yards out, with his effort leaving the Gills goalkeeper rooted to his spot.
Just before half-time, Jonny Williams brought Gillingham back on level terms. Tom Nichols did well to win the ball 25 yards from goal before making his way into the penalty area. He evaded a couple of challenges before squaring it towards Williams, who slid in to send the ball beyond Schofield in the Portsmouth goal.
HALF-TIME: Portsmouth 1-1 Gillingham
Gills made one change at the break, with Conor Masterson replacing Shad Ogie.
Ben Stevenson restored the Portsmouth lead in the 50th minute. The hosts worked the ball down the left-hand side before playing it back towards the edge of the penalty area. Gavin Whyte played it back for Stevenson, who curled a first-time effort from over 20 yards into the bottom corner, out of Morris’ reach.
Morris did well to prevent Pompey from making it three as they caught Gillingham on the counter. The ball was played through for Abu Kamara, who struck his effort into the chest of the oncoming Morris.
Moments later, Kusini Yengi struck the crossbar. A misplaced pass sent Portsmouth on the break, and the ball was played out to Yengi on the right, who rifled it goalward. His shot beat Morris but rattled the crossbar before going out of play for a goal-kick.
Yengi made no mistakes in the 54th minute, making it three for Pompey. Jack Sparkes curled a free-kick from the left into the box, and Yengi was on hand to thump his header towards the far corner and into the back of the net.
On the hour, Gillingham won a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area when Jayden Clarke was fouled. He took the set piece himself but fired it over the crossbar.
Ronald Sithole entered the game with 30 minutes remaining, replacing Nichols, making his second Gillingham appearance.
In the 72nd minute, Kamara scored Portsmouth’s fourth with a fantastic strike. He received the ball on the edge of the penalty area before moving it onto his left foot and curling a shot towards the top left corner of the net. Morris was again left with no chance.
Gills made two more changes in the 75th minute when Josh Chambers replaced Jefferies, and Stan Skipper made his professional debut as he came on for Clark.
Sparkes’ cross somehow almost found the top corner in the 79th minute. The ball went out to the left for the defender to play into the box. However, Sparkes’ cross ended up going goalward and was angled towards the top corner. Morris did brilliantly to get across at full stretch to keep it out with a finger-tipped save, sending it behind for a corner.
From the resulting set play, Ryley Towler made it five from close range. A corner from the right was headed goalward by Conor Shaughnessy, and Towler met it inside the six-yard box to thump it into the back of the net.
Alex Giles made his professional debut moments later when he replaced Scott Malone.
Clarke had a good chance in stoppage time to pull a consolation goal back for the Gills. He did well to get in behind the Portsmouth defence and tried to fire a shot towards the far corner. However, it was well-saved by Schofield.
FULL-TIME: Portsmouth 5-1 Gillingham
Portsmouth: Schofield, Swanson, Raggett, Towler, Sparkes (Aston 82’), Stevenson, Anjorin (Morrell 46’), Whyte, Saydee (Mottoh 81’), Kamara, Yengi (Shaughnessy 63’)
Unused Substitutes: Oluwayemi, Rafferty, Jewitt-White
Gillingham: Morris, Orji, Ehmer, Ogie (Masterson 46’), Malone (Giles 81’), Clark (Skipper 75’), J. Williams, Jefferies (Chambers 75’), Macarthur, Clarke, Nichols
Unused Substitutes: Turner, Gale
Referee: Mr Farai Hallam
Attendance: 5066 (181 Gillingham supporters)