Gillingham made an early exit in the Carling Cup tonightÂ after losing 1-0Â at homeÂ to League One side Colchester United.
The Gills made two changes from the starting XI against Bournemouth, with Alan Julian replacing Simon Royce in goal and Nicky Southall coming back into the side to replace loanee Curtis Weston.
Gillingham started the match brightest and this was made clear right from the off when Barry Fuller had Gills first chanceÂ after just 30 seconds. But unfortunately the full-back blazed his shot over the crossbar.
Mark McCammon then had a golden opportunity to give the Gills an early lead when on 4 minutes he broke through the Colchester defence and was one-on-one with the keeper, but unfortunatelyÂ hit his shot straight at the advancing Dean Gerkan.
The Gills started the brightest and looked the stronger team, but it was Colchester who broke the deadlock very much against the run of play, when on 10 minutes midfielder Matt Heath headed home for The U’s after a goalmouth scramble, in which the Gills blocked several efforts in an attempt to make up forÂ being unableÂ to clear at the far post, but ultimately failedÂ and handed Colchester the lead.
Despite the early setback, the Gills responded well and had a good chance on 13 minutes, when Simeon Jackson broke through the defence and had a shot from the edge of the box, forcing U’s keeper Dean Gerkan to make a full-stretch save in order to maintain Colchester’s lead.
The Gills then had two more chances with free-kicks on 26 minutes and 30 minutes. Firstly, Nicky Southall hit a shot just wide of the far post following a handball on the edge of the area. Then secondly, after a free-kick routine on the edge of the box, Adam Miller hit a low effort just wide of the far post.
Gillingham then had another chance just before the interval, when Nicky Southall hit a volley just wide of the near post after being teed up by Simeon Jackson.
After dominating large parts of the first half, the Gills eased off in the second and let Colchester start the brighter, with the U’s creating several half-chances. And they could’ve taken the lead on 55 minutes when Anthony Wordsworth had a header on goal, but his effort went narrowly over the crossbar.
After seeing Colchester dominate in the second period, manager Mark Stimson decided to spice things up a bit by making a triple substitution on the hour mark, with Mark McCammon making way for Gary Mulligan, Dennis Oli coming for Adam Miller, and Tyrone Berry replacing Nicky Southall.
Gillingham then had their first real chance of the second half on 65 minutes, when Colchester’s Matt Heath conceded a free-kick on the edge of the box after tagging onto Simeon Jackson’s shirt. John Nutter stepped up to take the free-kick, bu the defender blazed his shot way over the crossbar.
Dennis Oli then had another chance for the Gills on 69 minutes, but the striker hit his low effort straight at Colchester keeper Dean Gerkan.
Colchester then had a golden opportunity to put the game to bed when on 74 minutes Kemal Izzet was sent through on goal, but debutant Alan Julian was not to concede a second as he read where the ball was going and pulled off a fantastic save to push the ball to safety and keep Gillingham in the game.
However, it was not to be for the Gills as they created little more in the final minutes, with Simeon Jackson’s shot just wide on 80 minutesÂ being the only real chance of note. And with Colchester happy to play down the clock and wait for a win, Gillingham were condemned to an early exit from the Carling Cup.
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