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01 April 2024 Venue EnviroVent Stadium Attendance

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Reports

TOWN 5-1 Gillingham - Five star Town turn on the style in second-half

1 April 2024

A five-star second-half performance saw Town turn around a 1-0 half-time deficit to despatch Gillingham 5-1 and keep their playoff hopes well and truly alive.

George Lapslie had given the visitors the lead on forty minutes but Anthony O’Connor’s equaliser in the sixty-first minute paved the way for a pair of Matty Daly goals less than a minute apart to put Town 3-1 ahead. Substitute Jack Muldoon added some gloss in the final minute with a wonderul volley before Abraham Odoh added a fifth in injury time.

It had looked like a frustrating afternoon at half-time with Town trailing but proactive changes from Simon Weaver and a second-half display that will live long in the memort saw Town take all three points and move back into the top half of League Two.

Town were unchanged from the side that took a point from the 1-1 draw at AFC Wimbledon on Good Friday, with one change to the bench that saw Dean Cornelius return in place of Tom Bloxham.

The Gills also named the same side that played out a 0-0 draw at home to Crewe in their previous outing.

The visitors were into the game first with a neat move that resulted in the ball being played into Jonny Williams. He was too far out and his shot lacked the power to test James Belshaw.

On ten minutes there was an ambitious bicycle kick from Rod McDonald after Gillingham failed to clear a Matty Foulds free-kick, but despite connecting he couldn’t direct the effort on target.

The Gills were making the running over the first quarter of an hour and a fine piece of skill from Max Clark set up a cross-field pass to Connor Mahoney, whose smart touch saw him cut inside and he struck well but too close to Belshaw.

Stephen Dooley was the first to go into the book for a late challenge at the halfway line.

The dangerous Clark then forced a desperate clearance from Foulds, with the Town full-backs’ header under his own crossbar only narrowly being cleared away from danger.

It took Town until the mid-point of the half to make their first real foray into the opposition box. A decisive run from Foulds saw him deliver an inviting cross to the far post only for Clark to clear at the far post with Thomson ready to pounce.

From the resulting corner McDonald saw his header saved by Glenn Morris with the ball scrambled away off the line from Warren Burrell’s follow-up.

Town were beginning to fight their way back into the game but suffered a blow five minutes before the break when a wonderful Belshaw from a Lapslie effort, with him tipping the ball onto the post, was to no avail when the Gills forward was quickest to react to poke the ball home.

Gillingham missed a golden opportunity on the stroke of half-time to take command of the game when Remeao Hutton again delivered a decisive cross into the box, with Williams first to make contact but he glanced his header when a firmer contact would surely have doubled the lead.

Town were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area five minutes after the break after Josh March was felled. George Thomson, so proficient from dead ball situations this season, stepped up but struck the effort way over the bar.

Simon Weaver didn’t hesitate to switch things up just ten minutes into the half with a double change that saw Abraham Odoh and Cornelius replace Jeremy Sivi and Dooley.

Remeao Hutton then went into the book for a cynical hack on Odoh, with the Town forward galloping towards the penalty area. Town weren’t to be denied though as Odoh delivered an inch perfect free-kick that was met by the head of O’Connor who powerfully finished past Morris to level.

With Town in the ascendancy and hunting the lead Thomson fired narrowly before the visitors responded with a triple change to try and turn the tide. Off went Williams, Timothy Dieng and Oli Hawkins with Robbie McKenzie, Jayden Clarke and Josh Andrews being introduced.

Moments later though Town were ahead. A poor pass from the Gills midfield went straight to Thomson, who threaded the ball into Daly to deliver a crisp finish beyond Morris from the edge of the area.

A minute later Town had a third. March raced onto a ball over the top but looked to have taken the ball too wide, however he still fashioned a shot on target and despite Morris’s save Daly was there to further extend Town’s lead.

The visitors then took off goalscorer Lapslie in favour of Josh Walker, with Town also making their final change with goalscoring hero Daly limping off to be replaced by Jack Muldoon.

March then flashed a cross-cum-shot across the box that Odoh was a matter of inches from diverting home before the Town striker struck straight at Morris in the final minute.

The win saw Town move upto twelth place, four points back from the final playoff position and in the process setting a new club record in terms of points in a league season with 58.

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