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Harrogate Town 5-1 Gillingham
Harrogate Town 5-1 Gillingham

Gillingham’s Play Off dreams resembled an Easter Monday egg as they lay in tatters as a second period collapse saw Harrogate Town play themselves back into post season contention with a 5-1 hammering with a devastating second half display. 

It was all going so well for the Gills as they led 1-0 at the break through George Lapslie’s goal just before the half time whistle.

What the travelling fans were not expecting was the onslaught from the home side as they blitzed the visitors with five goals in the final 30 minutes of play which leaves Stephen Clemence’s side tenth with four games left.

They may only still be a couple of points off the Play Off places, but the return of one point from six over Easter now means that automatic promotion is an impossibility. 

There was no indication of the carnage that was to follow in the last half hour as the Gills enjoyed the better of the early stages – Jonny Williams had a shot well saved by James Belshaw; Max Clark then found Connor Mahoney, whose shot was deflected into the keeper, before defender Matty Foulds came within a coat of paint of heading Max Clark’s centre into his own net. 

Glenn Morris’ first real involvement came when – a magnificent save from Rod McDonald’s header and fine block from Josh Marsh’s follow-up – before the Gills took the lead just prior to the break as Lapslie had a header superbly tipped onto the bar by Belshaw, but the midfielder was quickest to react to give the Gills the half time lead. 

After a quiet opening to the second period, the game was turned on its head when Harrogate netted three in ten minutes – Anthony O’Connor powered home a header to level the scores on the hour and then Matty Day scored twice in three minutes – the first a fine curling effort into the bottom corner; the second a tap in after Morris had pulled off another fine save to deny Josh March. 

The Gills had no answer and a brave Morris save from March denied the fourth which did come in stoppage time (along with the home side’s fifth) courtesy of two Harrogate subs. Jack Muldoon gloriously thumped home the fourth – giving Morris no chance with an missile of a shot – and Abraham Odoh added insult to injury with a drive into the bottom corner as time elapsed. 

Not the time for your heaviest league defeat of the season – with four games left, Clemence knows that if his side are to make post season now it is going to take four massive performances… and a lot of help! 

HARROGATE TOWN – Belshaw, O’Connor, McDonald, Foulds, Burrell (Abu 61), Sutton, Dooley (Cornelius 53), Daly (Muldoon 79), Sivi (Odoh 53), Thomson, March.

Subs not used – Oxley, Falkingham, Folarin.

Goals: O’Connor (60), Daly (68), (70), Muldoon (93), Odoh (95).

Booked: Dooley (15), March (55), Sutton (72).

GILLINGHAM – Morris, Hutton, Ehmer, Masterson, Max Clark, Dieng (McKenzie 65), Coleman, Jonny Williams (Jayden Clarke 65), Lapslie (Walker 75), Mahoney, Hawkins (Andrews 65). 

Subs not used – Turner, Malone, Ogie.

Goal: Lapslie (41).

Booked: Hutton (59), Andrews (96).

REFEREE – Mr Simon Mather 

Attendance: 3133 (683 Gills).

Picture supplied by Gillingham Football Club.