Gillingham v Port Vale
At The Priestfield Stadium
Attendance: 6,356 including 202 visiting supporters
GILLINGHAM:Stuart Nelson, Joe Martin, Amine Linganzi, Leon Legge, Bayo Akinfenwa, Cody McDonald, Steven Gregory, Bradley Dack, Michael Harriman, Adam Barrett, Elliott Hewitt. SUBS: Callum Davies, Myles Weston, Connor Smith, George Howard, Craig Fagan, Jack Hessenthaler, Joe Piggott.
PORT VALE:Chris Neal, Daniel Jones, Chris Robertson, Doug Loft, Louis Dodds, Gavin Tomlin, Tom Pope, Joe Davis, Chrias Lines, Jack Grimmer,Anthony Griffith. SUBS: Adam Yates, Jennsion Myrie-Williams, Sam Johnson, Ben Williamson, Chris Birchall, Billy Knott, Jordan Hugill.
Despite looking the beter of the two sides during the first half, Vale gave themselves a mountain to climb when they conceded three goals with no reply to a Gillingham side seemingly growing in confidence.
But a late rally from the Valiants, in which Micky Adams’sside were well on top saw them pull goals back through Chris Robertson and Jordan Hugill, only to return home empty-handed with nothing to show for heir efforts.
Micky Adams made two chganges for the trip to the Priestfield Stadium, but there was no place in the starting eleven for recent loan signing Billy Knott, who had to settle for a place on the bench.
In came Louis Dodds on the right hand side of midfield in place of Jennison Myrie-Williams and as expected Daniel Jones returned from injury to slot in at left back.
The pitch passed a 12 noon inspection and was passed fit despite heavy overnight rain in Kent, but obviously this meant the surface was on the ‘soggy’ side.
Although Gillingham was bathed in sunshine an hour before th egame, by kick off the skies darkened and the rain came down right on cue.
Cody McDonald almost unlocked thedoor for the Gills in the fifth minute when he beat Joe Davis for pace but gradded his shot across the face of the Vale goal.
Despite that, it was a decent start to the game for the Valiants, who were looking the better of the two sides in the early stages of the game.
It was the visitors again, however, who went closaest to ging in front when Amine Linganzi cut inside onto his right foot and shot narrowly wide from 20 yards.
Vale were having plenty of the ball and managing to force the home side to defend deep, but it was Peter Taylor’s side who looked the more dangerous of the two when they went forward.
Vale continued to look the better of the two sides with the majority of the ball, but still they couldn’t find a way to brteak the deadlock.
With the home side shouting for a free kick the referee decided to play on and his brave decision almost paid off, with Chris Neal diving low to his right to turn Steve Gregorsy’s hot around his upright.
GOAL: From the resulting corner kisk the home side took the lead when Bradley Dack’s flag kick was met by ADEBAYO AKINFENWA, who planted a firm close range header into the back of the Vale net in the 42nd minute.
Louis Dodds had a good opporrtunity to level the scores three minutes after the half time break but fired over the bar under pressure from two Gillingham defenders.
Vale had ‘keeper Chris Neal to thank in the 54th minute for a double save to keep the home side at bay followig a free kick on the edge of the 18 yard box.
In a well-rehearsed set-pice routine, Cody McDonald’s shot looked to be going in but Neal got down well to make the save, pushing the ball out to the feet of Linganzi, 8 yards from goal.
Neal recovered well to make a second save from close range before finally grabbing hold of the ball at the third attempt to restore calm in the Vale defence.
GOAL:Neal was beaten, however, on the hour when ADEBAYO AKINFENWA met a right wing cross from Dack with aback post header and the big man made no mistake for his and Gillingham’s second goal of the game.
Vale responded with two substitutions, Jordan Hugill for Louis Dodds and Ben Williamson for Tom Pope, each in the 64th minute, but seconds later the home side increased their lead.
GOAL:Vale got caught cold at the back and CODY McDONALD found himself inspace on th eleft before srilling the ball across the face of goal and into the far corner to make in three-nil.
Akinfenwa was denied the chance of a hat-trick when he was substituted in the 70th minute to give new Gillingham loan signing Joe Piggott his debut.
Vale did a similar thing two minutes on when Anthony Griffith was withdrawn to give Vale’s latest loan signing, Billy Knott, his first run out in a Vale shirt.
Skipper Doug Loft and Ben Williamson each went close to pulling agoal backf or the visitors, who, to their credit, despite being three goals down kept plugging away.
GOAL:They were rewarded in the 80th minute when Knotts inswinging corner from the right was met by CHRIS ROBERTSON at the far post and he nodded home his sixth goal of the season.
Vale continued to attack, looking like they beleived they still had time to claw something from the game ans their hopes were given aboost in the 87th minute.
GOAL:The ball was played in to the feet of JORDAN HUGILL with his baxck to goal – he shook off his marker to turn sharply and fire home from 8 yards.