Herne Bay 1-4 Gillingham
Herne Bay 1-4 Gillingham

Gillingham eased into the last four of the Kent Senior Cup with a comfortable 4-1 win at Winches Field against a depleted Herne Bay.

The Gills side featuring Callum Reilly (free from the suspension that currently rules him out of Football League action) Noel Mbo, and Bradley Stevenson, played the slicker football in the first half and goals from Reilly, Henry Woods and Stevenson had all but sealed the last four place for Jason Lillis’ side – the home side had pulled one back when a Bradley Schaeffer cross found its way past Louis Catherall in the Gills net.

A sublime lob from Stevenson sealed the triumph and left Lillis a happy man. Speaking after the game he said, “We had to come here with the right attitude and the boys did well, I think.”

“We were comfortable, but you always have to be careful and not take too many chances to allow them back into the game.”

“We went forward quickly and played some good stuff in the first half and we said to the boys that the first goal in the second half would seal things.”

Herne Bay boss John Embery bemoaned the fact that his side were missing the majority of the defence that his side put out in the League derby win at Whitstable last weekend.

He said, “We only had one of the defence that played Saturday available tonight, but I thought we did well overall.  We knew that we could look at things tonight though we were wary about not picking up any more injuries.”

“We were able to see our players play against some really good players and at times we had some really good passages of play in the second half.”

The Gills began brightly in front of Herne Bay’s biggest gate of the season, and Reilly swept the visitors ahead courtesy of Aaron Simpson’s cross that was deflected into his path.

One soon became two when Woods fired home after a smart exchange of passes with Noel Mbo, and the Gills looked comfortable which is why it was a surprise when Shaeffer’s cross found its way into the net at the front post.

Mbo was then denied by a smart save from Bay keeper Harry Earls and Woods fired wide, before Stevenson fired home the third after Mbo’s shot had been blocked.

It really wasn’t Mbo’s night as on the stroke of half time after another great run, he was denied this time by Earls’ left foot.

The second half was much more of a contest with Bay going close when Tom Carlton had Gills keeper Louis Catherall scrambling from a free-kick.

As the game went end to end with Stevenson being denied by Earl before Catherall pulled off the save of the night to deny Dan Leaonard’s angled drive. From the resulting corner, the Gills broke and Stevenson coolly lobbed home.

Herne Bay ended with ten men after Simon Kabamba received a second yellow card in stoppage time for a coming together with Gills sub Leroy Hlabi.

Reflecting on his side’s progress, Lillis told us after the game, “These are really important games for the boys and it does them the world of good.”

“The Youth team have done very well and obviously getting to the Semi Finals of any Cup to play in and whatever competition you play in a Cup’s a cup and there to be won.”

“You don’t play in many Finals or Semi Finals as you get older, so you have to embrace them.”


Herne Bay line up: Earls, Kabamba, Brown, Wilkins, White, Carlton (Clifford-Awoyemi 70), Schaffer (Mulanry Skinner 46), Ayokomi Bankole, Embery, Cornwell, Leonard.

Subs not used: Miller, Freiter.

Gillingham line up: Catherall, Divine (Scarlett 81), Huckle, Tucker, Simpson, Stevenson, Reilly (Bramble 81), Chapman, Woods, Mbo, Smith (Hlabi 65).

Subs not used: Walsh, Fernandez.

Referee: Mr K Dempster

Attendance: 406

Picture supplied by Kent Pro Images.