Gillingham (A) Report


Gillingham’s Connor Ogilvie scored an 89th minute winner which sealed back to back defeats for Phil Parkinson’s side with yet another shambolic display. Gillingham hit the woodwork twice in the first half and should have been comfortably in front. Sunderland had a goal chalked off late on in the match, but the hosts won it late on as Ogilvie fired home.

Parkinson made several changes to the side which lost to Burton opting for five at the back with Will Grigg and Marc McNulty up top. Laurens De Bock surprisingly replaced Denver Hume, Alim Ozturk and Tom Flanagan came in at the heart of the defence – John McLaughlin also returned to the starting line-up.

The teams locked horns for the third time this season following two games in the FA Cup and Parkinson will have no doubt been looking for a much-improved performance this time out.

The teams locked horns for the third time this season following two games in the FA Cup and Parkinson will have no doubt been looking for a much-improved performance this time out.

Sunderland’s first foray forward was down the right-hand side as Grigg laid the ball back to Luke O’Nien to cross, but the ball was headed away to De Bock whose effort was poorly struck on the volley.

It was a flat atmosphere at Priestfield with neither side going gung-ho early on and opting for a more cautious approach.

It was the hosts who looked the more threatening in the opening 15 minutes of the match and from wide areas they were looking to throw bodies into the box, and it was testing the Sunderland backline.

Gillingham thought they had got the opening goal as Brandon Hanlan’s header had Jon McLaughlin beaten as it hit the underside the bar and looked to have bounced over the line, but the assistant referee remained unmoved – a major let-off for the lads.

30 minutes in and Sunderland looked lost. A group of players without clear direction who didn’t look like they wanted to be there.

The Gills missed an absolute sitter as Hanlan crossed the ball into former Sunderland striker Mikael Mandron and from six yards out with the goal at his mercy he could only hit the woodwork.

As the he first half ended, it was as bad as most Sunderland fans have come to expect from the team. There was no urgency, quality or ambition.

The second half had started at a much quicker pace with both teams having a go and opening the pitch up.

Sunderland had their first chance on goal as George Dobson’s tenacity paid off winning the ball high up the pitch. His cross was partially cleared to O’Nien whose effort was well saved by Jack Bonham.

The home side were doing most of the pressing with the ball constantly being thrown in the box from wide areas, but the Sunderland defence were standing firm.

Charlie Wyke made a return to the team following injury as he replaced Marc McNulty and almost made an instant impact. He used his strength well to turn his man and fired a low drive which whistled past the post.

Five at the back simply wasn’t working and with Duncan Watmore and Aiden McGeady on the bench - Parkinson needed to change it.

Sunderland had the ball in the back of the net as Grigg chipped the ball into the box for Wyke to tap home. The players celebrated a huge goal only for the referee and the linesman to have a conversation and rule out the goal. It looked as if the ref had overruled the linesman to give offside.

With only a minute left to play Gillingham won it. A corner from the left was scrambling about in the box and it dropped to Connor Ogilvie who smashed it in from close range.

Full Time: Gillingham 1-0 Sunderland

ALS Man of the Match: Charlie Wyke

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