Gillingham 1-0 Wigan: Gills into play-offs as Oliver scores again
Vadaine Oliver was on the scoresheet yet again for Gillingham | Photo by James Chance - Getty Images

Gillingham defeated Wigan Athletic 1-0 in EFL League One on Wednesday evening thanks to Vadaine Oliver's 17th goal of the season.

The Gills forward was on hand to head home Ryan Jackson's cross in the second-half to earn his side the victory in a hard-fought match at Priestfield Stadium and move Gillingham into the play-off spots for the first time since October.

Story of the match

First-half

Wigan started the game with most of the possession, but, unsurprisingly, Gillingham looked to go direct and get the ball into the box as early as possible at every given opportunity.

A few free-kicks and corners went astray, and Wigan almost went ahead on 14 minutes when Callum Lang's effort was deflected into the hands of Jack Bonham following a pull back.

Gillingham broke through Kyle Dempsey as the first-half reached the halfway point, but, as the Gills captain tried to cut back onto his stronger right foot, he was met by defenders and his pass towards Vadaine Oliver was intercepted, letting Wigan off the hook.

Wigan began to grow into the game and Curtis Tilt almost gave them the lead as the first-half reached the halfway point, flicking a low cross over the bar after Gillingham failed to deal with a corner. Vadaine Oliver then headed over at the other end.

Oliver perhaps should have given his side the lead just after half an hour when he chased down Luke Robinson's short backpass. The Gills forward got there before Wigan 'keeper Jamie Jones and tried to poke an effort through his legs, but Jones got down well and blocked the effort.

Callum Lang was then gifted space by the Gillingham defence and shot from the edge of the box but dragged his effort wide. Plenty of action in the half going into the break, but it was all square.

Second-half

After some shouting in the tunnel at the break from manager Steve Evans, Gillingham started the second-period the strongest of the two teams, Stuart O'Keefe having an effort from the edge of the box blocked after a long throw from Jackson.

Gillingham manager Evans was booked after another clash between the two benches, tensions high following a flailing arm from Jamie Proctor which connected with Connor Ogilvie's face.

Full-back Tendayi Darikwa forced Jack Bonham into action as the hour mark approached, and the Gills 'keeper could only parry the shot back into danger. Jamie Proctor, however, fired the rebound over.

Callum Lang fired narrowly wide as Wigan began to control proceedings, and Jordan Graham failing to find a man in a Gillingham break epitomised the home side's frustrations.

Proctor headed into Bonham's hands unmarked as Wigan really started to dominate, and Jamie Proctor absolutely should have given the visitors the lead following good work from Callum Lang. Lang danced past challenges into the area, and fed his strike partner, unmarked in the area. The Rotherham United loanee, however, fired miles over - by far Wigan's best chance of the game.

It was Wigan in control, but Gillingham got the vital, opening goal on 78 minutes, and it was Vadaine Oliver again. The forward had dominated aerially all game, and an inch-perfect cross from Ryan Jackson was met by the forward to give the Gills the lead.

That goal gave Wigan a second wind and they almost equalised pretty much immediately, Lang hitting the underside of the bar before Ryan Jackson cleared off the line.

Oliver had a couple of chances to double his and Gillingham's tally late on - falling over from a tight angle when through in the area and producing a fine save from Jamie Jones - and it became tense for Gillingham in the final few minutes.

Gillingham saw the game out well with lots of gamesmanship on display, and earned another three points to move into the play-off places in League One.

Takeaways from the match

Wigan play Gillingham at their own game

Gillingham's tactics have often been branded 'bullish' this season, and it was clear from early that Wigan were going to play the same way at Priestfield - Gillingham were not going to change.

The Wigan dugout fired back at the vocal home dugout on numerous occasions, contesting a call for a penalty on Vadaine Oliver early and another foul against the Gills forward.

Wigan were physical in their tackles and loud in their words - and it almost paid off.

Gillingham find a way to win

Wigan were arguably the better side in the game and definitely had the better chances, but the Gills, as they have done so often this season, simply found a way to win.

Steve Evans has often spoken about doing just that, and his team are doing it at the right time. They move into the play-off places in League One.

Standout players

Callum Lang

The former Oldham Athletic forward played up top with Jamie Proctor at Priestfield and couldn't have done much more to help his partner. He should have had an assist in the second-half but for Proctor's poor finishing, and probably should have scored himself in the first-half, and hit the bar late on.

Vadaine Oliver

The big forward is key to Gillingham's direct style of play, and he proved that once again here, netting his 17th goal of the season, and it may have been his most important so far. He dominated his defenders in the air and deserved his goal.

Teams

Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, Tucker, Ogilvie, O'Connor, Graham (McKenzie 90), Dempsey, O'Keefe, MacDonald, Akinde (Samuel 68), Oliver (Lee 90).

Subs not used: Bastien, Woods, Willock, Johnson.

Wigan: Jones, Darikwa, Johnston, Tilt, Robinson, Ojo, Evans, Lang, Aasagaard (Keane 79), Solomon-Otabor Gardner 81), Proctor (Dodoo 78).

Subs not used: Evans, Clough, Whelan, Long.

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