Gillingham 0-2 Hull City
Gillingham 0-2 Hull City

It wasn’t the opening day that Steve Evans was looking for as Gillingham slipped to an opening day defeat at a deserted Priestfield to relegated Hull City.

The relegated Tigers back in the third tier for the first time in sixteen years  and who Evans had warned would be incredibly difficult first day opponents proved to be just that.

An early strike from Keane Lewis-Potter and a second by Josh Magennis in the last ten minutes sent the Gills to their first opening day defeat since 2014, and their first at Priestfield since August 2013.

The Gills boss had already publicly stated that it was going to be a tough start for his side, and the manager was proved so right in just the third minute as the home defence failed to check Josh Emmanuel’s forceful burst into the box and Lewis-Potter drilled the ball beyond Jack Bonham in the home goal.

It could have so easily have been 1-1 just a couple of minutes later, but John Akinde beat the offside trap but couldn’t beat Tigers keeper Matt Ingram as Akinde drove the ball straight at the advancing stopper.

Bonham then denied George Honeyman after the goal-scorer turned provider, before Honeyman’s corner was headed over by Jordy de Wijs as the visitors went in search of a second.

The home side were struggling to get back on level terms and Jacob Mellis’ shot from outside the box just cleared the bar.

Gillingham really didn’t get going in the first half and the manager made a double change at half time with Celtic loanee Scott Robertson coming on for his Gills debut along with Vadaine Oliver for Mellis and Trey Coyl.

Then Matty Willock came on for Kyle Dempsey who twisted his ankle but the home side continued to be frustrated, it was a frustration that continued during the second half as Hull stood firm and threatened on the break.

A tough afternoon for Gillingham was capped of by assistant boss Paul Raynor being cautioned by referee Woolmer before Hull secured the points with eight minutes left.

Connor Ogilvie was booked for a foul and from Honeyman’s delivery Magennis’ header in front of a deserted Brian Moore Stand found its way into the bottom corner. 

Not even five minutes of stoppage time could inspire the Gills and indeed it could have been even worse but de Wijs drove an effort too high and Potter was denied by a great block tackle from Rob McKenzie.

The points then disappear up the Medway to the Humber and by the time the Gills next take to the League One pitch at the DW Stadium next weekend, manager Evans will definitely be looking to have strengthened his squad still further.

GILLINGHAM – Bonham, MacKenzie, Ogilvie, Maghoma, Medley, Mellis (Robertson HT), O’Keefe, Dempsey (Willock 64), Akinde, Graham, Coyle (Oliver HT)

Subs – Woods, Tucker, Walsh, MacDonald

HULL CITY – Ingram, Emmanuel, Fleming, Burke, de Wijs, Doherty (C Jones 88), Wilks, Smallwood, Honeyman (Batty), Lewis-Potter, Magennis (Scott 83)

Subs – Cartwright, A Jones, McLoughlin, Samuelsen

REFEREE – Mr Woolmer

Image courtesy of Gillingham FC