Gillingham 1-2 Burton Albion
Gillingham 1-2 Burton Albion

It was a frustratingly, disappointing start to Steve Evans’ Gillingham reign at Priestfield as Nigel Clough’s Burton Albion came from behind to net twice inside the last four minutes of the first half which saw the first League points of the Priestfield season literally blown back to Staffordshire.

Evans named a side that included eight making their competitive bows at home and two of them combined to put the Gills in front after only six minutes – Mark Marshall’s wind assisted free-kick caused chaos in the Albion defence and as keeper Kieran O’Hara dropped the ball, Ousseynou Cisse side footed the ball into the roof of the net.

All looked rosy and before long the Rainham End has a new hero when keeper Jack Bonham brilliantly turned aside Lucas Akins’ penalty. However Burton then turned the game on its’ head with two goals from Nathan Broadhard out of nothing in the closing four minutes of the half to completely change the mood around Priestfield.

Try as they might, the Gills struggled to create chances in the second period, and in the end, Burton could have added to their win – a truly frustratingly, disappointing afternoon…

Cheered on by an opening gate of 4,682 (only 95 had made the trip from Burton), the Gills were asked to attack the Rainham End in the first half, and were ahead after six minute when O’Hara tried to reach Marshall’s free kick over the top of his own defenders only to literally drop the ball on Cisse’s foot and the home side were in front.

Liam Boyce dragged Burton’s first real chance well wide before Bonham did well to get down to John Brayford’s shot through a crowd of players, whilst at the other end Marshall, with the home sides first corner, forced O’Hara into a desperate scrambling clearance.

Scott Fraser then saw a run into the Gills box unceremoniously ended but Bonham was at his agile best as he turned Akins penalty aside. Indeed, the battle between Akins and Gills Player of the Year, Barry Fuller, was a joy to behold particularly in the first half – a half that was about to take a desperate turn for the home side.

Broadhead levelled the scores on 41 minutes cutting in from the left before minutes later, the Burton number nine repeated the act sending the Gills in at the break behind.

Evans responded with a double change at the break, Mark Byrne and Mikael Mandron coming on for Mikael Ndjoli and Alex Jakubiak, and in truth they added some balance to the Gills side although Evans will be disappointed that O’Hara wasn’t really extended in the second period.

Both Byrne and Lee Hodson went close with deflected efforts as Burton played for the majority of the second half with nine behind the ball. Not even the entry of Elliott List helped as the Gills need for a new striker became increasingly evident.

Evans will just hope that the clubs who he is waiting to hear back from over striker reinforcements return his call – and soon!


GILLINGHAM – Bonham, Hodson, O’Keefe. Ehmer, Hanlon, Ndjoli (Mandron HT), Fuller, Jones, Cisse (List 54), Marshall, Jakubiak (Byrne HT)

Subs not used – Walsh, Ogilvie, Charles-Cook, Woods

Goals – Cisse 7


BURTON ALBION – O’Hara, Brayford, Daniel, Edwards, Buxton, Wallace, Fraser, Broadhead (Hutchinson 85), Akins, O’Toole, Boyce

Subs not used – Bywater, Sbarra, Sarkic, Narety, Anderson, Beardsley

Goals – Broadhead 42, 45


Referee – Mr Linnington

Assistants – Mr Kirkup and Mr Lee

Fourth official – Mr Brook

Attendance: 4682 (95 Burton).