For the visit of Luton Town, manager Mark Stimson was forced to make several changes to his preferred starting XI. There were first starts for Dennis Oli and Tyrone Berry, whilst Alan Julian and Leigh Mills made their league debuts for the Gills.
Luton started very much the brighter in the opening few minutes, and this was obvious when the Hatters took the lead as early as 3 minutes into the game. Sam Parkin headed in past the diving Julian after a cross on the left by Chris Martin.
Gillingham failed to make an instantÂ response, and foundÂ chances were few and far between as they failed to cope with Luton’s strong, phyiscal style of play.
Simeon Jackson had a chance on 10 minutes, when a wayward header went his way, but the striker squandered theÂ opportunity as he couldn’t control the ball. If only he did, then the Gills most certainly would’ve been level.
Jackson thenÂ had another chance on 22 minutes when he latched onto a long range pass, but the Canadian forward lost his balance and hit his shot way over the crossbar.
ThereÂ wasÂ yet another chance for Simeon Jackson on 40 minutes, when Tyrone Berry drove the ball into the box before picking out Jackson at the near post, whose shot on target was cleared off the line.
Minutes after the second half began Gillingham had another effort cleared off the line, this time it was Mark McCammon whose headed effort was blocked at the far post.
Gillingham then had their best chances of the game 20 minutes from theÂ end in a chaotic goalmouth scramble. It would’ve seemed that Stimson’s tactics of putting GaryÂ Mulligan on and playing a 4-3-3 formation were about to instantly pay off, with Simeon Jackson, Tyrone Berry and Andrew Crofts all having shots that looked to be going in. But Luton blocked all their efforts and survived the Gillingham onslaught to preserve their lead.
There was nothing elseÂ the GillsÂ could really throw at Luton, and despite their best efforts, Gillingham could not avoid defeat against the Hatters, and have therefore begun their season very disappointingly.
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