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Match Reports


8 January 2022

Back-to-back wins for McKenna's Blues

Three goals inside the first 23 minutes helped Town to a convincing victory at Gillingham. 

Efforts from James Norwood, Wes Burns and Macauley Bonne saw Town race into an early lead, with Conor Chaplin coming off the bench to net a fourth from the penalty spot as Kieran McKenna's Blues made it successive wins in League One.

McKenna made one change to the side who defeated Wycombe 10 days earlier, goalkeeper Christian Walton returning in place of Vaclav Hladky having missed the victory over the Chairboys through Covid-19.

Town got their 2022 off to the perfect start as, within eight minutes of kick-off, they opened the scoring following a fine move down the right side. Janoi Donacien worked a one-two with Burns before playing the ball to Bonne, who turned it around the corner to Sam Morsy. Town's skipper drilled the ball across the face of goal for Norwood to turn into the back of the net from eight yards.

The Blues made it 2-0 just four minutes later. Bonne turned his marker before running at the defence and playing the ball right to Burns, who blasted a powerful effort past Jamie Cumming from the corner of the box.

Town's dominance continued and, midway through the half, they found a third goal with another fine team move. Sone Aluko sliced the Gills defence open to put Matt Penney in on goal, with the wing-back unselfishly squaring the ball for Bonne to stroke into the back of the net.

Gillingham's Daniel Phillips headed wide from a corner at the end of the first half.

Town started the second half on top with Lee Evans seeing a free-kick blocked before Bonne struck an effort from distance wide of the top left corner.

A driving run forwards from Morsy created another opening halfway through the second period, Penney's powerful strike flying just past the upright.

George Edmundson tried his luck two minutes later with his piledriver from 30 yards being parried away by Cumming.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men shortly afterwards, Phillips picking up two bookings inside four minutes and being given his marching orders.

McKenna's side added their fourth of the afternoon with just over five minutes remaining. After Joe Pigott was pulled down by a defender in the penalty area, the striker's fellow substitute, Chaplin, coolly slotted his penalty kick straight down the middle of the goal.

It could have got even better for Town in stoppage time but Morsy struck the crossbar from close range after Pigott had played the ball to him from the touchline. 

Gillingham: Cumming, Jackson, Ehmer, Bennett, McKenzie, Tucker, O'Keefe, Phillips, Carayol (Lloyd 79'), Tutonda (Dickson-Peters 45'), Oliver.

Subs: Chapman, Sithole, Reeves, Lee, Lintott.

Booked: O'Keefe, Raynor (assistant manager), Phillips (2).

Sent off: Phillips.

Town: Walton, Donacien, Woolfenden, Edmundson, Burns, Aluko (Chaplin 79'), Morsy (C), Evans, Penney, Norwood (Jackson 71'), Bonne (Pigott 71').

Subs: Hladky, Vincent-Young, Burgess, Carroll.

Booked: Donacien.

Attendance: 6,041 (2,073 Town fans).

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