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Gillingham 1-0 Harrogate Town
Gillingham 1-0 Harrogate Town

Shaun Williams proved again to be the right man in the right place deep into stoppage time as the Gillingham skipper drove home the goal in sweltering heat at Priestfield to send the Gills back to the top of the early League Two table as Harrogate’s stubborn resistance finally melted in the Medway sun. 

Williams was on hand five minutes into stoppage time to smash the ball home after sub-Tom Nichols had been denied following a Conor Mahoney corner which wasn’t dealt with by the Harrogate defence. 

On a steamy and baking afternoon on the banks of the Medway, Gillingham started brightly without really testing the visitors goal until the sixteenth minute when George Lapslie’s header was fractionally too high. 

The heat was tough to manage in the stands, so the players deserve massive credit for producing the game in the conditions and five minutes from the break, the Gills had the chance of the half. Cheye Alexander and Robbie McKenzie combined down the right and as the ball was centred, Macauly Bonne nodded the ball down and as Lapslie got to the ball ahead of keeper Mark Oxley, Scott Malone just couldn’t the ball over the line. 

The second half was held up for many minutes by a head injury to Sam Folarin as the conditions looked like they were going to prevail. 

George Thompson had Harrogate’s best chance of the game just after the break, but Jake Turner wasn’t going to be beaten as he was on his way to a fifth clean sheet of the season already. 

Just as many were thinking of retiring to their homes and the shade, Mahoney’s corner wasn’t dealt with by Oxley, Nichols had his chance blocked but captain marvel Williams was in have to crash the ball home to win the game and secure the three points – beating Harrogate for the very first time – that took the Gills back to the top of League Two table. 

GILLINGHAM – Turner, Alexander, Masterson, Ogie, Malone, Shaun Williams, Jonny Williams (Nichols), Lapslie (Jayden Clarke), McKenzie, Mahoney (Ehmer), Bonne (Nadesan) 

Subs – Morris, Max Clark, Macarthur 

HARROGATE TOWN – Oxley, Ramsay (Sims), O’Connor, McDonald, Gibson, Falkingham (Sutton), Thomson, Matt Daly (James Daly), Folarin (Sivi), Armstrong, Odoh 

Subs – Thomas, Burrell, Foulds 

REFEREE – Mr Hair