Ipswich Town 1-0 Gillingham
Ipswich Town 1-0 Gillingham

Gillingham slumped to their fourth goal less defeat in a row as Portman Road once again proved to be a depressingly familiar ground as an 86th minute wonder strike condemned Steve Evans’ side to more Suffolk sorrow at the hands of Ipswich Town.

A frustrating night for the Gills boss was made significantly worse when he lost first choice keeper Jack Bonham to injury after half an hour, and although stand in Joe Walsh excelled in his place in his League debut, he was powerless to stop Teddy Bishop claiming the points for the home side with just four heart-breaking minutes left on the clock.

Gillingham have now visited the Suffolk club fifteen times down the years and have registered just two wins ironically in back to back seasons in the early 2000s, but more recently, it’s five reverses in a row at Portman Road.

The visitors went into the game missing Connor Ogilvie through suspension and with a new midfield from the weekend with Alex MacDonald, Robbie McKenzie and skipper Kyle Dempsey replaced the injured Tom O’Connor, Josh Eccles and Scott Robertson, respectively.

And it started brightly for the visitors as McKenzie had the game’s first chance denied by a last ditch block. In a fast start to the game Freddie Sears went close for the home side before Andre Dozzell went agonisingly close to putting Ipswich ahead with a free kick that missed by a fraction.

The home side then went even closer to scoring as Jack Lankester hit the underside of Bonham’s bar and the ball bounced the Gills way and away to safety. The Gills stopper had previously required treatment following a collision with a couple of his defenders and in the melee that ensued after Lankester hitting the bar, Bonham went down again but this time was forced off sending Walsh on for his first taste of League football.

The second half started well for Gillingham – Dominic Samuel was brilliantly denied by Tomas Holy close after John Akinde’s good run, before the visitors could have easily broken their scoring duck. Samuel turned provider and as his ball to the back post found MacDonald, but he couldn’t make the connection needed and screwed his shot across the face of former Gills stopper’s goal.

Whatever Evans had said to his charges seemed to have worked as they were now carrying more threat with Holy the busier keeper – Jack Tucker went close with a header; Zech Medley’s drive was pushed away before Tucker had a second header well saved. Walsh then did well to deny Bishop on three separate occasions before Luke Wolfenden shot wide when well placed. Mark McGuinness should perhaps have done better from Dozzell’s cross before Holy made a great save to deny Graham.

With time ticking away and a point getting closer and closer, the Gills succumbed as Bishop arrived to meet a pull back from the edge of the box to curl a super effort beyond a despairing Walsh and into the net. It was tough on Gillingham, but to prove it really wasn’t their night, deep into time added on substitute Vadaine Oliver crashed a header (from Jordan Graham’s free kick) onto the post with Holy well beaten!

This defeat made it five in a row at Ipswich’s hands in all competitions but more worryingly for Evans, despite another improving display where his side had the chances to get something from the game, just as against Fleetwood at the weekend, the finishing touch in front of goal was sadly missing – it’s now 380 League One minutes since Gillingham last troubled the scorers; a fact that the manager and all the club’s “at home” fans hope will end when Sunderland visit Priestfield at the weekend.

IPSWICH TOWNHoly, Chambers, McGuinness, Woolfenden, Ward, Dozzell, Bishop (Bennetts), Lankester (Huws), Edwards, Hawkins, Sears (Dobra).

SUBS – Cornell, Nsiala, Kenlock, Simpson.

GILLINGHAM – Bonham (Walsh), Jackson (Robertson), Tucker, Maghoma, Medley, MacDonald, McKenzie, Graham, Dempsey (Oliver), Akinde, Samuel.

SUBS – Coyle, Willock, Eccles, Woods.