Wycombe Wanderers 2-0 Gillingham
Wycombe Wanderers 2-0 Gillingham

Gillingham slipped to their third 2-0 defeat in eight days on a day to forget at Adams Park as Wycombe Wanderers went joint top of League One.

Steve Evans’ side made a dreadful start and were chasing the game inside ninety seconds when Gareth McCleary got on the end of a flick to drill past Jamie Cumming and when former Gill Brandon Hanlan hammered a second inside the opening seven minutes, the writing really was on the wall for the visitors.

Vadaine Oliver missed a guilt edged chance to get the visitors back in the game after skipper Kyle Dempsey was flattened but after what seemed to be an eternity, the Gills top scorer blazed the spot kick high over the bar.

The Gills boss recalled Jack Tucker to the heart of the defence as Rhys Bennett dropped to the bench in the only change to the soggy side that was beaten by Wigan Athletic at Priestfield a week ago.

Yet almost before the manager had settled in the away dug out, his side could have been in front as Dempsey was denied the dream start as his low shot was well saved. Sadly, the dream was to quickly turn to a nightmare as the Gills were behind inside the opening ninety seconds as McCleary beat Max Ehmer to the ball as he latched onto Sam Vokes’ flick on and gave Cumming no chance at his near post.

Evans had said during the week that he’d tried to bring Hanlan back to Kent in the summer and the former Priestfield favourite again showed the Gills fans in the crowd what they were missing after only seven minutes as he doubled the home side’s lead with a shot that went under Cumming after Curtis Thompson’s shot had found its way to him.

Two down and staring at the abyss, the Gills rallied but just couldn’t find a way back into the game – first Danny Lloyd was denied and then John Akinde shot wide from Oliver’s flick.

Oliver himself then headed over from Alex MacDonald’s free kick before the giant striker missed a “golden” opportunity to open the door back into the game for the visitors. Dempsey was floored by a challenge from Josh Scowen leaving referee Friend no choice but to point to the spot, but Oliver skied the penalty high over the Wycombe bar.

Try as they might the Gills struggled to get back into the game after the break and were fortunate that Joe Jacobsen’s free kick just before the hour was just too high as a full stretch Cumming looked beaten, whilst at the other end Wycombe nearly gifted their opponents an unlikely life line when Anthony Stewart mis-directed a head back to his keeper and was relieved to see Stockdale somehow claw the ball off the line and away to safety.

Cumming then pulled off a terrific save to keep out Vokes’ header, and then made another good stop to keep out Thompson’s drive. Hanlan was then the next to be denied by the Gills custodian as the Chelsea loanee did really well to divert the ball onto a post.

Gillingham now return home for two homes games that now become very key as high-flying Sunderland and then rock-bottom Doncaster Rovers head for Priestfield with Steve Evans’ side just two points outside the bottom four.

WYCOMBE WANDERERS – Stockdale, McCarthy, Stewart, Tafazolli, Jacobson, Thompson (Wheeler 88), Scowen, Obita, McCleary, Hanlan (Mehmeti 84), Vokes (Akinfenwa 84).

Subs not used – Przybek, Grimmer, Gape, Parsons.

Goals: McCleary (2), Hanlan (7).

GILLINGHAM – Cumming, McKenzie, Ehmer, Tucker, Tutonda (Bennett 74), Adshead (O’Keefe H/T), MacDonald, Dempsey, Lloyd, Oliver, Akinde.

Subs not used – Chapman, Kelman, Lee, Reeves, Sithole.

Booked: Oliver (37).

REFEREE – Mr Kevin Friend

Attendance: 4,992

Picture supplied by Gillingham Football Club.

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