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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 10 Oct 09 at 17:17 PM

REPORT: BLUES EDGED OUT IN KENT

A brave effort from the Wanderers wasn't enough to prevent a 3-2 defeat at Priestfield on Saturday afternoon as Gillingham took the points to spoil Richard Dobson's afternoon in charge of the Blues.

The caretaker manager employed a 4-4-2 formation away from home and made three changes to the side that lost to Leyton Orient in Peter Taylor's final game at the helm last weekend, with Leon Johnson, Ian Westlake and Jon-Paul Pittman returning to the fold.

However, defensive frailties again proved to be the Blues' undoing as the home side took an early lead courtesy of Josh Gowling's first goal in three years, capitalising on hesitancy in the area following a corner, but Wanderers were level through a stunning 20-yard strike from the unlikely source of Craig Woodman.

Curtis Weston restored the Gills' lead before the break as the home side worked the ball through the Wycombe defence from a throw-in, but Dobson's men showed resilience and earned a second equaliser when Leon Johnson's close range effort was turned in for an own goal by Mark Bentley.

It proved to be in vain, however, as top scorer Simeon Jackson marked his return from a hamstring injury with the winning goal, latching on to a long ball and chipping Scott Shearer to seal all three points.

The Blues started strong defensively and limited Gillingham to just two long range efforts from Curtis Weston in the early stages. However, the home side took the lead on 16 minutes when defender Josh Gowling headed home after a well worked short corner involving Jack Payne, Barry Fuller and the eventual crosser Andy Barcham.

Dobson's men responded positively though and Craig Woodman equalised for the Chairboys in some style on 27 minutes. Jon-Paul Pittman did well down the left, Kevin Betsy laid the ball off to Woodman and, from 20 yards out and on his right foot, he sent a stunning drive past Simon Royce into the top left-hand corner of the net.

The goal saw the Wanderers grow in stature and they should have taken the lead moments later, but neither Matt Harrold nor Michael Duberry could turn Woodman's teasing cross past Royce.

Matt Phillips then tried his luck from 20 yards just after the half hour mark; however, his effort took a deflection of Mark Bentley and rolled into the arms of the former Leicester City stopper.

Dennis Oli fired a warning shot five minutes before the interval with an effort going just wide of Scott Shearer's right post, while at the other end Leon Johnson headed over a Woodman free-kick from the right touchline.

But on the stroke of half-time it was the hosts who regained the lead thanks to a close range header from Curtis Weston. Jack Payne's throw-in was headed on by both Oli and Simeon Jackson and Weston was there to guide the ball past Shearer from six yards.

The second half began at a fast pace with chances at either ends. Firstly, Betsy fired over Royce's bar after a mazy run before Dennis Oli sent a shot whistling past Shearer's near post after Jackson's initial shot was blocked.

With the home fans growing increasingly frustrated with the Gills' creation going forward, the Blues drew level on 62 minutes. The home side failed to clear a Woodman free-kick, Marlon Pack headed the ball back into the danger area and Mark Bentley guided the ball past Royce after good work from former Gillingham defender Leon Johnson.

Both managers made changes to try and force the winner but it was one of the original 22 starters that turned the game back in Gillingham's favour. Simeon Jackson latched onto a long ball over the top from Gowling before placing an exquisite lob over Shearer and into the far corner on 78 minutes.

Once again, the Wanderers responded well to falling behind and only a top save from Royce kept the scores at 3-2 after Woodman's stunning 25-yard free-kick seemed destined for the top corner.

Moments later Woodman was again involved as he crossed for Stuart Green, but the midfielder's volley was weak and wide of the target.

Four minutes added time offered the Blues hope but despite some late pressure the Gills hung on for the victory.



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