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Gillingham 0-1 Bradford City: Toothless Gills punished by opportunist Bantams

Credit: Kent Pro Images

Gillingham v Bradford City

Gillingham 0-1 Bradford City: Toothless Gills punished by opportunist Bantams

Kent Pro Images

Gillingham 0-1 Bradford City: Toothless Gills punished by opportunist Bantams

Gillingham’s home season kicked off at Priestfield Stadium on Saturday with the home fans leaving the stadium frustrated and disappointed after a 10-man Gills side crashed to a 1-0 defeat to Bradford City

Gillingham’s home season kicked off at Priestfield Stadium on Saturday with the home fans leaving the stadium frustrated and disappointed after a 10-man Gills side crashed to a 1-0 defeat to Bradford City.

Adrian Pennock’s side actually started solidly enough, with a back three of Alex Lacey, Gabriel Zakuani and Max Ehmer flanked by defensive-minded wingbacks Luke O’Neill and Connor Ogilvie.

The central midfield trio consisted of Mark Byrne, Josh Wright and skipper Lee Martin, with a front two of Conor Wilkinson and Josh Parker.

It looked like a lineup set to provide defensive stability more than attacking flair, and the opening 20 minutes saw the home side make a solid, if unspectacular start.

Lacey and Zakuani impressed early on (Zakuani would go on to deservedly win the sponsors’ Man of the Match award) while O’Neill and Ogilvie looked settled in their wing-back roles.

However, the middle of the park looked bereft of ideas, with the front two feeding off scraps throughout the game, before the tireless Wilkinson’s lunge to block Timothee Dieng’s clearance resulted in the Gills striker receiving his marching orders with 15 minutes to go.

The goal came after 19 minutes, as Gillingham’s otherwise solid back three were caught napping by Dominic Poleon, who drifted away from his marker to tuck away a low Alex Jones cross. It proved the only goal of the game, but Poleon should have had another after a comical miss later in the half.

Latching onto an under-hit Ehmer backpass, Poleon rounded the outrushing Holy and, with the goal at his mercy, guided his low shot inches wide of the right hand post.

His wasn’t the only glaring miss of the day, with Gillingham’s Parker guilty of a glaring miss of his own, putting a second-half shot wide when it looked easier to score.

That miss summed up Gillingham’s performance, as they laboured to create any clear-cut chances in a game that saw the home side register just two efforts on target in the whole game.

And after Wilkinson’s late dismissal, Gillingham saw two great chances go begging as the three points went the way of the visitors.

First substitute Liam Nash headed a half-chance over the bar then, after another substitute Scott Wagstaff saw his last-second effort turned into the net by Eaves, Priestfield’s celebrations were cut short, first by the offside flag, then by the final whistle.


Gillingham team vs Bradford

Holy, O’Neill, Lacey (Eaves 63), Zakuani, Ehmer, Ogilvie, Byrne (Nash 89), Wright, Martin, Parker (Wagstaff 89), Wilkinson.

Unused subs: Hadler, Hessenthaler, Oldaker, Cundle.

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