Gillingham made it four wins from their last five League One games on Saturday as they defeated Swindon Town 2-0 at Priestfield Stadium.
Goals either side of half time from Vadaine Oliver and Trae Coyle ensured the Gills claimed all three points, and Steve Evans' side moved into the top 10 of the table with the win.
Story of the match
Swindon started the game by far the better side and had two glorious chances to go ahead in the opening couple of minutes. Firstly, through Tyler Smith, who seems to have a clear run at goal following a mistake from Jack Tucker, but the young defender got back well to recover and forced a corner. From that corner, Town captain Mathieu Baudry flicked on at the near post, but Anthony Grant fired well over unmarked at the far post.
Diallang Jaiyesimi then forced Jack Bonham into a save at his near post before Swindon saw another good opportunity from a corner go amiss, and Swindon would have considered themselves majorly unfortunate not to be ahead after a completely dominant opening five minutes.
Swindon were made to rue their missed chances when Gillingham took the lead on 17 minutes through Vadaine Oliver, who netted his third goal in two games. A long ball from Ryan Jackson was flicked on by John Akinde and Oliver shrugged off his defender before hammering high past Matej Kouar in the Swindon net.
Gillingham did however continue to ride their luck, and Swindon should have been level on 25 minutes when they hit the crossbar twice in a matter of seconds. Jonathan Grounds first of all won a header that bounced almost in slow motion off the Gillingham bar, and the rebound fell perfectly to Tyler Smith, but he too could only divert his header onto the bar from just a yard out, unable to keep his header down.
Swindon continued to control the game, extremely unlucky not to be at least level, but Gillingham almost doubled their lead just after half-an-hour when Kouar spilled a Scott Robertson shot, but the ‘keeper gathered at the second time of asking.
The game evened out in the latter stages of the half, but Swindon would still have felt they should have level, if not ahead, going into the break.
The second period, much to Gillingham’s liking, started much slower. A couple of half-chances fell for the Gills, but there were no real efforts to note from either side from the opening five minutes.
Baudry then headed straight at Bonham before Dominic Samuel wasted a good counter attacking opportunity for Gillingham, but the tempo of the game remained slow.
Swindon began to pick up the pace of their play again as the clock ticked over the hour mark, and Gills boss Steve Evans reacted in bringing on Arsenal loanee Trae Coyle for John Akinde soon after.
The half continued to follow the same pattern as Swindon struggled to break Gillingham down, but the game was all but done on 80 minutes when Dominic Samuel found Trae Coyle in space on the counter. The Arsenal loanee was one-on-one with Kouar, and made no mistake in slotting home to double his side’s lead.
Swindon tried to find a way back into the game following the second goal, but the damage was done, and Gillingham ran out 2-0 winners.
Takeaways from the match
Swindon created several chances in the game but failed to take any of them. Goals win games, and John Sheridan will be frustrated his side didn’t find the net here.
Direct approach pays off for Gills
Gillingham have had to change system with their talisman Jordan Graham out injured, but the direct approach of playing John Akinde and Vadaine Oliver up top together is paying off. The duo will, and do, fancy their chances against any centre back pairing in a physical battle, and they are reaping the rewards so far.
It is three goals in two games now for Vadaine Oliver and seven for the season – not bad for someone supposedly in the team purely for his aerial presence and hold up play. He took his goal excellently and is really coming into his own at Priestfield and becoming one of the signings of the summer.
The Swindon number nine may have missed two or three chances, but he did everything but score. Whether it was through his teammates creating for him or him making an opportunity himself, the forward looked threatening throughout.
Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, Tucker, Ogilvie, O’Connor, McKenzie, Dempsey, Robertson, Samuel (MacDonald 84), Akinde (Coyle 62), Oliver (Drysdale 90).
Subs not used: Walsh, Woods, Eccles, Willock.
Swindon: Kouar, Grounds, Baudry, Jaiyesimi, T Smith (Parsons 87), M Smith, Odimayo, Donohue (Conroy 37), Payne, Curran, Grant (Lyden 85).
Subs not used: Fryer, Caddis, Haines, Holland.