Gillingham defeated AFC Wimbledon 2-1 at Priestfield Stadium on Tuesday evening in an entertaining game in Kent.
After Kyle Dempsey opened the scoring for the hosts, Ben Heneghan levelled things up for Wimbledon. A second half Dominic Samuel strike, however, was enough for Gillingham to earn all three points.
Story of the match
The match, in all honesty, couldn’t have started any better for Gillingham. In just the third minute, captain Kyle Dempsey opened the scoring after some brilliant play. After Alex MacDonald robbed his namesake Woodyard on the right, the Scot fed Jordan Graham whose excellent vision allowed him to find Dempsey in space in the area. The midfielder shot first time, and fired home past Connal Trueman in the Wimbledon goal to give his side the lead.
Gillingham continued to press as Zech Medley and Connor Ogilvie missed half chances, and the first 10 minutes passed without the visitors posing too much of a threat.
Wimbledon did start to try and create as Joe Pigott had a shot blocked in the area, and, as the game progressed towards the half-hour mark, it would be fair the say the visitors were the better team.
They were rewarded for their pressure just before half an hour too, when Ben Heneghan levelled proceedings. Heneghan, still up from a corner, met a whipped Callum Reilly cross and headed home.
The game began to even out as the half progressed and Gillingham began to get frustrated, struggling to make it click going forward – Kyle Dempsey failing to find Graham in miles of space not far from goal a key example.
The second half too started even, and the first chance fell to Wimbledon as Ryan Longman produced a fine save from Jack Bonham in the Gillingham goal with a powerful header.
Gillingham though suddenly found themselves back ahead just before the hour mark thanks to their talisman, Dominic Samuel. As Connor Ogilvie broke on the left, the full-back produced a peach of a cross for the Gills number nine, who, making space for himself in the box, made no mistake as he fired past Trueman.
The Gills almost had a third minutes later after Graham was brought down on the edge of the box, but Dempsey saw his resulting free kick rocket back off the post.
Bonham then produced a fantastic double save to deny substitutes Jack Rudoni and Ollie Palmer, and Ryan Longman fired high and wide not long after.
Both teams began to make changes as Samuel produced a good low save from Trueman, and Wimbledon found themselves searching late on - Will Nightingale heading a free kick wide when it looked easier to score just minutes from time.
Wimbledon continued to push, but the full time whistle was soon blown, and Gillingham took the spoils.
Takeaways from the match
Gills manager Steve Evans is starting to settle on a group of players and there are signs of progress in the Gills XI.
There was just one changed here – enforced – and the team is starting to click. They now have seven points from their last three games, and are starting to climb the table once again.
Wimbledon have surprised even the most optimistic Dons fans with their positive start to the season, and, despite the result, they were impressive here.
They will be just fine this season – and who knows how far they can go?
Graham is for sure one of the most exciting wingers in the league and has the most successful crosses to his name of anyone in the division this campaign.
He showed once again here how good he is, using patience and vision to pick out Dempsey for Gillingham’s opening goal, and gave left-wing-back Steve Seddon a hard time all evening.
One of those players that does his job well that no one really notices, Anthony Hartigan pulled all the strings for the visitors in midfield.
He allows the wing-backs and overlapping centre-backs to do what they do. Another great shift from the Wimbledon number eight.
Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, Tucker, Ogilvie, Medley, Graham, McKenzie, Dempsey, MacDonald (Coyle 66), Samuel (Woods 73), Oliver (Akinde 85).
Subs not used: Walsh, Maghoma, Drysdale, Willock.
Wimbledon: Trueman, Csoka (Thomas 46), Woodyard (Rudoni 61), Hartigan, McLaughlin, Heneghan (Nightingale 77), Longman, Kalambayi, Reilly (Chislett 77), Pigott (Palmer 61), Seddon.
Subs not used: Tzanev, Alexander.