Gillingham 5-0 Bolton Wanderers
Gillingham 5-0 Bolton Wanderers

Gillingham achieved their first win of the season on Saturday afternoon with a comprehensive 5-0 victory against Bolton Wanderers.

Bolton, fresh from their takeover in the week and being saved from almost certain liquidation, put in a spirited performance in ME7, but Steve Evans’ men proved too tough a test at this stage of their rebuild.

Goals came from Connor Ogilvie, Brandon Hanlan, Oliver Lee (twice), and Jordan Boon scored an own goal to give The Gills their first three points of the campaign.

Gillingham started the game on the front foot, as one would expect, with Alex Jakubiak showing good work on the left to win an early corner.

Brandon Hanlan almost got his first league goal of the season in the opening five minutes when Bolton ‘keeper Remi Matthews took too long controlling a ball, firing straight into the striker’s path. Matthews did, though, recover to claim the ball.

New signing Jack Hobbs was called into action early on for Bolton, the defender having to clear over his own bar to halt another Gills attack, before it was a chance for a defender at the other end of the pitch to impress in Connor Ogilvie.

The Gills number six ran almost the entire length of the pitch, skipping over numerous challenges, before crossing to in-from forward Alex Jakubiak. The Watford loanee, stretch as he might, couldn’t get there, though.

Ogilvie came close to giving his side the lead in the opening minutes when he headed just wide from a corner, before Alfie Jones joined the club in heading wide of the Bolton goal from a Mark Byrne cross – an opportunity he will feel he should have scored.

Despite their early domination, the first shot on target for The Gills came on 17 minutes through Alex Jakubiak. His tame effort, though, was saved easily by Matthews.

10 minutes later The Gills had their goal and it was through defender Connor Ogilvie. Olly Lee did excellently to win a free-kick slightly into the Bolton half, and the creative midfielder stepped up to take it himself. He whipped in a nice ball that was knocked down, and it eventually fell to Ogilvie, who swept home from six yards.

The Gills smelt blood after the goal, and Jakubiak had a snap-shot saved before Lee himself doubled the lead. It was an impressive goal from Gillingham featuring smart build-up from Alfie Jones and Barry Fuller. The latter put a cross in that was kept in play well by Mark Byrne, and Lee arrived late in the box to fire home past Matthews first time.

Bolton’s first meaningful effort game came on the stroke of half-time through a Dennis Politic free-kick, but Jack Bonham was well matched to the strike in the Gillingham goal to preserve his clean sheet going into the break.

Brandon Hanlan would have been dying to get his first goal of the season following a tough opening to the campaign, and he fired well wide from a tight angle as the second half began.

Moments later, The Gills number seven missed a golden opportunity to net when he fumbled a cross from Mark Byrne following more good play from Oliver Lee.

The pain didn’t last much longer for Hanlan, though, as he netted in the 54th minute from a similar position to his previous opportunity. Alex Jakubiak broke down the left, and Hanlan beat Yoan Zouma at the near post to prod home and finally get his goal.

Mark Marshall came on at half-time for the returning Matty Willock, and he had two great chances to open his own account for the season when he was found on his own in the box. He did, however, fire straight at Matthews, then blast the rebound high over the bar.

Oliver Lee got his second of the game just before the hour mark and it was another volley for the midfielder. Barry Fuller overlapped excellently on the right and picked out Lee with a pinpoint cross – Lee didn’t have to think twice before smashing past Matthews.

Gillingham continued to pepper the Bolton goal as the second half progressed with Jakubiak missing from close range and Charles-Cook heading over before the latter curled a free-kick just wide of the Bolton goal.

The Gills fans, singing the name of right-back Barry Fuller, were treated to a fifth of the afternoon and it was, unfortunately, a Jordan Boon own-goal.

A deep Mark Marshall corner floated over the top of on-rushing ‘keeper Remi Matthews, before Max Ehmer did excellently to keep the ball in play and aim it back across goal. Boon, with his back to the ball, could only turn to see it trickle into the back of the net off of his leg.

Brandon Hanlan missed a good opportunity late on before making way for Mikael Mandron, but it was Bolton who ended the game strongly with new signing Jack Hobbs hitting the bar with a late header.

Mikael Mandron fired just over as he tried to add his name to the score-sheet, but Robert Lewis blew his whistle to bring the game to a close at 5-0 not long after.

It was a resilient effort full of heart from a young Bolton side, fresh from their life-saving takeover during the week, but Steve Evans’ men were, ultimately, too strong, and earnt their first three points of the season.

Gillingham: Bonham, Fuller, Ehmer, Ogilvie, O’Connor, Jones, Willock (Marshall 46), Byrne, Lee (Charles-Cook 63), Hanlan (Mandron 79), Jakubiak.

Subs not used: Walsh, Hodson, O’Keefe, Ndjoli.

Goals: Ogilvie 27, Lee 39 & 57, Hanlan 54, Boon OG 76

Bolton: Matthews, Brockbank, Hobbs (Graham 90 +1), Zouma, Boon, Murphy, Darcy (King-Harmes 58), Lowe, Weir, Politic (Senior 86), Brown.

Subs not used: White, Brown-Sterling, Richards, Alexander

Goals: N/A

Attendance: 5,065 (740 away)

Referee: Mr R. Lewis

Assistants: Mr A. Aylott and Mr L. Marks

Fourth official: Mr G. Maskell