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AFC Wimbledon 2-0 Gillingham
AFC Wimbledon 2-0 Gillingham

Gillingham’s Wombles hoodoo reared its ugly head on opening day of the new season as Neil Harris’ side slipped to yet another defeat at the hands of AFC Wimbledon.

Two relegates teams and two new look teams but sadly for the near 1,200 travelling fans no change to Gillingham’s simply woeful record against the Wombles – this defeat means that the Gills have won just three of their seventeen meetings.

If there was a side that Harris would have wanted to avoid on opening day, Wimbledon would have been right up their especially when you add into the equation that this was the home sides first league win of 2022!

The Gills named seven League debutants and with Glenn Morris’ return in goal, just Max Ehmer and Olly Lee remained from the last day of last season and Mikael Mandron made his second “debut” after his return to Priestfield.

However, in the final analysis, the defensive mistakes that led to relegation in May surfaced again and would have left the manager as fuming and furious as the travelling fans.

The home side went in front on the quarter hour mark when Ethan Chislett drove home an early contender for “Goal of the Month,” but as good as the strike was, the Gills boss would have been left shaking his head in the director’s box (serving his touchline ban left over from last season) as his defence didn’t clear a corner!

Mandron went close to levelling with a looping header before Morris pulled off a really good low save to stop Chislett doubling his account just before the break.

The half time introduction of Ben Reeves seemed to give the Gills extra spark and Harris’ side were agonisingly close to levelling up. Reeves’ ball into the box was headed down by Mandron and Jordan Green was inches away from the equaliser. Reeves then himself tested home keeper Nik Tzanev with a curling effort that the Wombles keeper almost spilled after wrong footing himself.

The Gills though couldn’t find a way through and when Joe Currie arrived at the back post free and unmarked to power home a cross past the hopelessly exposed Morris, the home side had broken their duck and added to their Gills hoodoo and leaving manager Harris a frustrated figure.

The Gills boss now has a week of reflection and hard work ahead before the season starts at Priestfield. To lose on opening day is disappointing but after all, there is still another one hundred and thirty-five points available…

AFC WIMBLEDON – Tzanev, Gunter, Nightingale, Pearce, Brown, Marsh, Maghoma, Currie, Assal, Chislett (Bendle), Davison (Hudlin)

Subs – Broome, Young-Coombes, Adjei-Hersey, Kalambayi, Ogundere

GILLINGHAM – Morris, Wright (Alexander), Ehmer, Baggott, Law (Tutonda), Williams, Jefferies (Reeves), Green, Lee, Kashket (Gbode), Mandron

Subs – Turner, MacDonald, MacArthur 

REFEREE – Mr Mather

Image courtesy of Gillingham FC