Pigott and Chaplin on target in Kent
Town recorded a 2-0 victory over Gillingham in the Papa John's Trophy this evening.
Joe Pigott and Conor Chaplin netted for the Blues in a thoroughly deserved victory at Priestfield.
Paul Cook made 11 changes to the side that fell to defeat at Accrington on Saturday, with Toto Nsiala captaining the Blues in Kent.
Pigott came back into the fold following illness, while full-back Myles Kenlock made his first appearance of the season at left-back.
And it was the former that had the first chance of the game. Kane Vincent-Young, back in the side for the first time since a home meeting with Bolton Wanderers last month, darted inside and laid the ball to the frontman on the edge of the area. Pigott, almost with his back to goal, tried a curling effort with his right foot which sailed a yard or so over the crossbar.
The visitors had another half-chance almost 20 minutes in, but Chaplin sliced wide from a Kayden Jackson cross. Not long after, Kenlock played in Kyle Edwards down the left side, but the winger's low cross was cleared by the hosts.
In the 26th minute Pigott fired over, this time with his left foot, after Vincent-Young had once again got in behind the Gills backline.
On the half hour mark there were some shouts for a penalty as Edwards beat Stuart O'Keefe near the byline before appearing to be dragged down, but referee Trevor Kettle waved play on. Gills went straight up the other end, with Vincent-Young and Toto Nsiala producing back-to-back blocks to deny Charlie Kelman, who was looking to find the bottom corner with his right foot.
Twelve minutes before half-time Chaplin went close with a low drive following smart play from Jackson down the right flank; Gillingham 'keeper Aaron Chapman seemingly aware the strike was always sailing wide of his net.
Tomas Holy was called into action in the 40th minute as he tipped over a long-range effort from Olly Lee; that being the Czech shot-stopper's second save of the half after collecting a low drive from Ben Reeves earlier on.
Just two minutes later Town took a deserved lead. Jackson raced down the right side and produced the perfect low ball in for Pigott, who rifled into the roof of the net from the middle of the area.
Neither side made any changes at half-time, with the second half getting off to a fairly slow start although Town continued to enjoy plenty of possession, particularly in midfield.
The next genuine opportunity came 19 minutes from time and resulted in the Blues doubling their advantage. Holy rolled the ball out to Pigott, who picked out Chaplin with a lovely long pass over the top of the Gills defence, and the latter made no mistake with a smooth right-footed finish from just inside the box.
Immediately after, Cook freshened things up with a double switch; Louie Barry and James Norwood coming on for Edwards and Pigott.
Holy then did brilliantly to keep the advantage at two when he sprung to his left to push behind a volley that had deflected off of the boot of Kelman and looked destined for the bottom corner.
Six minutes from time Zanda Siziba came on for his second appearance of the season as he replaced Chaplin. A couple of minutes later, Barry tested Chapman with a left-footed drive that was pushed away by the shot-stopper.
Town saw the game out comfortably to record their first win of the Papa John's Trophy campaign, and in doing so move top of Southern Group A, ahead of West Ham U21s, Colchester United and Gills on goal difference.
Gillingham: Chapman, O'Keefe (C), Ehmer (Lintott 59'), Tucker, Kelman, Lee, Reeves (Lloyd 73'), McKenzie, Akinde (Sithole 73'), Bennett, Akehurst.
Subs: Cumming, Tutonda, Adshead.
Booked: McKenzie, Akehurst.
Town: Holy, Vincent-Young, Woolfenden, Nsiala (C), Kenlock, Harper, El Mizouni, Jackson, Chaplin (Siziba 84'), Edwards (Barry 72'), Pigott (Norwood 72').
Subs: Hladky, Armin, Humphreys, Yengi.
Booked: Harper, El Mizouni.