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Match Report

 

Posted Tue 25 Aug 09 at 22:10 PM

Report: Gillingham 1 Rovers 3

There were to be no banana skins at the Priestfield Stadium as Rovers booked their place in the third round of the Carling Cup with a comfortable 3-1 win over Gillingham.

David Dunn got Sam Allardyce's side off to the perfect start when on 6 minutes he latched onto Nikola Kalinić's through ball to fire home.

Gillingham pressed well for a first half leveller, Mark McCammon heading narrowly wide.

But seconds into the second half Junior Hoilett doubled Rovers' advantage with a fine diving header from Keith Andrews' cross.

The home side's hopes were boosted when Simeon Jackson scored from the spot after he had been brought down by Zurab Khizanishvili, but Morten Gamst Pedersen calmed the nerves when he scored directly from a corner kick with 15 minutes remaining.

Rovers could have scored more with Roberts, Pedersen and the impressive Hoilett all going close, but they'll have been satisfied with their night's work in Kent.

Watch the match highlights on Rovers Player

As expected Sam Allardyce made changes, and there were seven from the side that started against Sunderland at the weekend. Steven Reid and David Dunn made welcome returns to the starting line-up, whilst there were first starts for Nikola Kalinić and Junior Hoilett.

As the wind whistled around the Priestfield Stadium, Rovers were straight out the blocks. Morten Gamst Pedersen letting fly with a second minute free-kick that appeared to be heading towards the top right corner of Simon Royce's goal until the veteran goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant one-handed save to tip the ball over the bar.

But Rovers didn't have long to wait for the first goal on the night, a turn and pass by Nikola Kalinić set David Dunn racing into the area and he finished with aplomb past Royce.

Despite that early dominance the home side grew in confidence as the half wore on. With the wind at their backs the Gills put pressure on the Rovers back line, their best chance of the half coming on 21 minutes when a Jackson ball from the right found Mark McCammon at the back post, he headed across goal but Givet was able to watch the ball past the post.

A flowing move from Rovers followed three minutes later and that almost lead to a second. Nzonzi's strong play saw him find Dunn on the left, he found Olsson inside who in turn switched play to Hoilett on the right. Junior advanced on goal and let fly but was unfortunate to see the ball flash just wide of the far post.

Jason Brown saved well from a John Nutter free-kick, the former Gills stopper saving with his chest, but McCammon should have done better with the rebound as he fired wide.

Nikola Kalinić thought he should have been awarded a penalty on 38 minutes when after twisting and turning in the area he went to ground, but referee Keith Friend was having nothing of it and booked the young Croatian.

On the stroke of half time Steven Reid stretched for a tackle, in doing so he picked up a hamstring strain and to add insult to injury he got a card for his troubles.

Sam Allardyce made two changes at the start of the second half, Roberts on for Kalinić who had a groin niggle, whilst Vince Grella made his first appearance of the season replacing Reid with his hamstring.

Straight from the off Rovers doubled their lead, slick passing involving Dunn, Roberts and Pedersen saw Keith Andrews, now occupying the right back slot, crossed into the area where Junior Hoilett dived full length to head into the back of the net. Marking a superb first start with an equally superb goal.

Three minutes leader and the lead should have been doubled. Morten Gamst Pedersen with a fiercely whipped corner kick that was met powerfully by Steven Nzonzi, but the Frenchman saw the ball flash wide.

Hoilett fired over after good work from Roberts then he teased his way into the box from the right to tee up Roberts, his first time shot was blocked on the line, Pedersen fired in the rebound but Royce was there to save.

David Dunn impressed in his hour-long outing, giving a typical barnstorming performance, which started with his fine goal. His replacement meant another debutant as Elrio van Heerden made his Blackburn bow.

Just as it looked like Rovers would run away with the game the home side were given lifeline on 70 minutes when they were awarded a penalty when Jackson went to ground right on the edge of the area under Khizanishvili's challenge, the linesman giving the decision.

Simeon Jackson stepped up himself and although Jason Brown dived the right way he was unable to prevent the ball from going in.

That could have set up a nervy last twenty minutes but Morten Gamst Pedersen had other ideas. Just four minutes after Gillingham had pulled a goal back they were picking it back out of their own net. The Norwegian delivering a stunning corner kick that went straight into the back of the net via a boot on the line.

Sensing more goals himself, Pedersen saw a volley deflect just past the far post, then in a carbon copy of his successful corner kick another seemed to be arrowing into the back of the net until Royce palmed the ball away.

McCammon blazed over in a late chance for the home side, but Rovers were able to see out the last ten minutes with relative ease to book their place into the third round of the Carling Cup.

GILLINGHAM: Royce, Fuller (c), Nutter, Maher (sub Jackman 65 mins), Bentley, Jackson, Barcham, Gowling, Oli (sub Palmer 74 mins), Weston (sub Payne 65 mins), McCammon.

Subs not used: Miller, Erskine, Wynter, Julian.

ROVERS: Brown, Reid (sub Grella 46 mins), Khizanishvili, Givet, Olsson, Dunn (sub van Heerden 59 mins), Nzonzi, Andrews (c), Pedersen, Hoilett, Kalinić (sub Roberts 46 mins).

Subs not used: Fielding (GK), Jacobsen, Warnock, Jones.

Booked: Gowling, Fuller (Gillingham), Kalinić, Reid, Olsson, Brown (Rovers).

Attendance: 7,203

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