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Gillingham 2-0 Tranmere Rovers
Gillingham 2-0 Tranmere Rovers

Three more points, another two goals and a clean sheet – all in all “just” another day at what is becoming Fortress Priestfield for Neil Harris and Gillingham as Tranmere Rovers returned to Merseyside a well beaten side.

Again, the Gills showed that they can score goals from all areas as Shaun Williams opened the scoring before turning provider for Conor Masterson to seal the points with his first goal for the club.

Throw into that a seventh clean sheet for Glenn Morris and his defenders since Christmas – and their third in a week – it really was a good afternoon for the Gills.

And also Harris and his men are now nine points and four places in front of the relegation trap door and still have a game in hand on the sides immediately below them.

On their return to Kent, the Gills boss made four changes after the rear guard action at Stockport on Tuesday and Williams repaid the manager for the recall as did Alex MacDonald (who returned to the starting eleven after recovering from illness) and had a terrific return.

The Gills, with the owners looking on, went for it from the start with Williams and MacDonald involved in most of the early chances. Tim Dieng went close from an early long throw and Dave Tutonda forced Rovers keeper Joe Murphy into a smart low save before the Gills took the lead on the half hour.

MacDonald’s deep corner was begging to be met, and it was Williams with so much room and space who obliged looping a header into the Tranmere net.

Tom Nichols, who hasn’t netted for a few games came close early in the second period but his headers from MacDonald’s delightful centres were agonisingly close without testing Murphy.

Morris was left in a heap after an “awkward” challenge from Joel Mumbongo but Max Ehmer was on hand to clear before the referee awarded the home side a free kick as the Gills keeper picked himself up.

MacDonald’s wizardry from set pieces continued as the game entered its final twenty minutes providing this time a chance for Tim Dieng, but his superbly angled header flashed inches wide.

Just as the faithful were beginning to fear a nervy conclusion, the Gills finally got the second goal that they deserved. Williams did brilliantly down the left and his centre brought an outrageous dummy from sub Aidan O’Brien allowing Masterson to sweep the ball home for his first Gillingham goal and just the second of his young career.

The Gills now have a week back on the training pitch until they next play against Walsall at the weekend as the climb up the League Two continues…

GILLINGHAM – Morris, Alexander, Ehmer, Masterson, Tutonda, Williams, Dieng (Wright 92), MacDonald (Coleman 85), Lapslie (Jefferies 68), Hawkins (Abrahams 93), Nichols (O’Brien 68).

Unused Sub – Turner.

Goals: Williams (32), Masterson (83).

TRANMERE ROVERS – Murphy, Dacres-Cogley, Jameson, Turnbull, Bristow, Hawkes (Chalmers 77), Merrie, Hendry, O’Connor, Saunders, Burton (Mumbongo 54).

Subs not used – Hewelt, Fisher, Turner-Cooke.

Booked: Hendry (91).

REFEREE – Mr Andy Woolmer

Attendance: 5,674

Picture supplied by Gillingham Football Club.