Gills beat Morecambe at ME7 to go back to the top of League 2.
Connor Mahoney’s brilliant first-half strike proved to be the winner as Gillingham beat Morecambe 2-1 at the Priestfield Stadium.
George Lapslie fired Gillingham in front in the ninth minute. Mahoney floated a corner deep into the penalty area, which Ethan Coleman headed towards the six-yard box. It found an unmarked Lapslie, who thumped it beyond Stuart Moore.
The Gillingham advantage lasted for a couple of minutes as Michael Mellon brought Morecambe level. He got on the end of a long ball down the left before lobbing the ball over the oncoming Jake Turner.
Mahoney regained the Gills lead in the 23rd minute. He received the ball inside the box before taking a Morecambe defender out of the game with a fake shot. He then shifted the ball onto his left foot before rifling an effort into the top corner.
Neil Harris made one change to the side that beat Harrogate, as Ethan Coleman replaced Robbie McKenzie in the starting XI. Oli Hawkins was named among the substitutes for the first time this season following his heel injury.
Lapslie gave Gillingham the lead in the ninth minute. Connor Mahoney floated a corner deep into the penalty area, which was headed towards the six-yard box by Ethan Coleman. It fell to Lapslie, who was unmarked, and he thumped the ball beyond Stuart Moore from six yards out.
The lead was short-lived, as Michael Mellon scored moments later. The ball was sent down the left for Mellon to latch onto, and he spotted Jake Turner off his line. He hooked it over the head of the Gillingham goalkeeper, and the ball bounced into the far corner of the net, bringing Morecambe back onto level terms.
Mahoney had a great opportunity in the 19th minute. Macauley Bonne did well to chase down a defender, who scuffed his clearance into the path of Scott Malone, who brought the ball forward. He found Jonny Williams inside the penalty area, playing a smart pass to the midfielder, who spotted the run of Mahoney to his left. He played it back for the winger, whose low-driven shot towards the near post was pushed behind the post by Moore.
From the resulting corner, Gills had the ball in the back of the net, but it would not count. Mahoney curled it towards the back post for Bonne to prod home from a few yards out. However, it was ruled out for a foul on a Morecambe player inside the box.
The hosts continued to apply pressure as Jonny Williams spotted the run of Lapslie into the box and played a dinked pass for the midfielder, who tried hooking it over Moore. Unfortunately, Lapslie could not make stronger contact as his attempt went straight into the chest of The Shrimps’ goalkeeper.
In the 23rd minute, Mahoney fired Gillingham back in front with a brilliant goal. The winger received the ball inside the penalty area and had two players in front of him. He faked his shot initially, taking one defender out of the game before shifting onto his left foot and shooting. Mahoney’s shot had plenty of power, and it flew into the top corner, leaving Moore with no chance of keeping it out.
During the build-up to the goal, Lapslie went down with what appeared to be a hamstring injury and was forced to come off, and was replaced by Jayden Clarke.
Morecambe had a good chance to equalise in the 41st minute when they won possession inside the Gillingham half. They brought the ball forward, finding Mellon on the edge of the penalty area, who then passed it towards Eli King. The midfielder brought it towards the goal before shooting from just outside the box. Fortunately, he fired his effort well over the crossbar.
Mellon almost scored an incredible equaliser moments later. The ball was sent down the right for the striker to get on the end of. It was bouncing as he opted to shoot on the half-volley from a tight angle. His effort rattled the crossbar before going out of play for a goal kick.
The action-packed first half continued when Clarke forced Moore into a save in the 44th minute. After nice build-up play, Bonne flicked the ball into the box for Clarke to latch onto. The winger directed a low-driven effort towards the far corner, which took a deflection off a Morecambe defender. Moore could not gather the ball at the first attempt, as the loose ball trickled along the penalty area before he smothered it.
HALF-TIME: Gillingham 2-1 Morecambe
Clarke had a great opportunity in the 57th minute after Bonne did well to hold the ball up before playing it inside for the winger. Clarke did well to get beyond the first defender, but the second Morecambe player attempted to shield him off the ball. The 22-year-old did well to get around the defender before prodding the ball goalward. However, Moore had already come off his line and was well-positioned to keep the ball out.
In the 71st minute, Mellon had a free-kick from 25 yards out. He struck it goalward, but it proved a simple save for Turner, as the shot was at a comfortable height for him to gather into his stomach.
Gills made a double substitution in the 74th minute as Tom Nichols and Ashley Nadesan replaced Jonny Williams and Bonne respectively.
Mellon received his marching orders two minutes later for a second bookable offence. Having already received a yellow card in the first half, he was chasing a ball in behind, which Conor Masterson beat him to. As the Gillingham defender cleared it out of play, he was caught by the sliding challenge of Mellon, forcing the referee no choice but to brandish a second yellow card.
Nichols came close in the 89th minute after fine work to get a shot away. The forward was allowed to make his way into the penalty area unchallenged before being met by two Morecambe defenders. Nichols twisted inside and out, creating space for himself before getting a shot away. However, his effort was deflected over the crossbar for a corner.
FULL-TIME: Gillingham 2-1 Morecambe
Gillingham: Turner, Alexander, Masterson, Ogie, Malone, Coleman, S. Williams, J. Williams (Nichols 74’), Lapslie (Clarke 26’), Mahoney (McKenzie 90+4’), Bonne (Nadesan 74’)
Unused Substitutes: Morris, Ehmer, Hawkins
Morecambe: Moore, Love, Connolly, Bedeau, Senior (Tutonda 66’), Songo’o (C. Smith 84’), King (Walker 65’), Bloxham (Taylor 60’), McKiernan, Slew (Davenport 59’), Mellon
Unused Substitutes: A. Smith, Stokes
Referee: Declan Bourne
Attendance: 5915 (120 away fans)