Jordan Green scores the winning spot kick as Gills beat Colchester on penalties at ME7.
Jordan Green scored the winning spot-kick as Gillingham beat Colchester 5-4 on penalties in the Papa John’s Trophy after the two sides drew 1-1 in normal time at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
Lewis Walker opened the scoring as his precise header from Will Wright’s free-kick found the back of the net.
Former Gillingham striker John Akinde equalized for the visitors as his shot from close range beat Jake Turner at his near post shortly before the interval.
The game eventually went to a penalty shootout, where Jordan Green calmly slotted his penalty beyond Kieran O’Hara to secure the bonus point for the Gills.
Neil Harris made five changes to the team that drew at Crewe. Jake Turner, Elkan Baggott, Dom Jefferies, Jordan Green and Lewis Walker all came into the starting XI. Glenn Morris, Max Ehmer, Robbie McKenzie, Hakeeb Adelakun and Scott Kashket all dropped to the bench.
Beryly Lubala tried his luck from distance in the 14th minute. The visitors had been trying to test Turner throughout the opening period of the game but saw multiple efforts blocked. Lubala found himself in plenty of space, so decided to shoot from around 25 yards out. However, his powerful effort cleared the crossbar as Turner had it covered.
In the 17th minute, Alex Newby forced Turner into a save from a free-kick. His effort was along the floor, which managed to go underneath the Gillingham wall and straight at Turner, who parried away before Gills cleared their lines.
Noah Chilvers came inches away from giving Colchester the lead in the 37th minute. The visitors were enjoying possession around the Gills penalty area before Chilvers managed to turn out with space to shoot. He brought the ball out of his feet before curling an effort towards the far post. It hit the woodwork before the rebound fell to John Akinde, who played it back to Newby as his shot went over the bar.
In the 43rd minute, Walker gave Gillingham the lead with their first effort on target. Will Wright curled a free-kick from the right-hand side towards the penalty area. It was played into a good position as Walker, and Shaun Williams both tried to get their head on it. The Gills forward was the one that did as he did well to direct his header across the goal and out of the reach of Kieran O’Hara.
The Gillingham lead did not last long as Akinde scored against his former side. Matt Longstaff saw his effort saved by Turner, and the rebound fell to Akinde, who managed to squeeze his shot beyond the Gills keeper at his near post.
HALF-TIME: Gillingham 1-1 Colchester United
Gills made four changes at the break as Ehmer, McKenzie, Adelakun, and Kashket replaced Cheye Alexander, Williams, Alex MacDonald and Mikael Mandron.
Kashket had a good opportunity after Green did brilliantly to make his way into the penalty area. He got beyond multiple players before laying it off to Kashket, who saw his effort blocked.
Tom Eastman came close in the 58th minute. A low corner was played towards the near post where the defender managed to get goal side and hook the ball across the goal. It went wide of the goal with no Colchester player on hand to take advantage at the back post.
There was a nervy moment as Alan Judge almost gave Colchester the lead. A ball into the box got away from everybody as Turner tried to come and collect the loose ball. Judge got there before him as he placed it under the goalkeeper. Fortunately, Ehmer was on the line to clear away.
Dan Chesters saw his effort from 20 yards go just wide of the post as the ball took a slight deflection off Wright to go behind for a corner, which came to nothing.
Neither side could find a winning goal in the second half, so the game went to penalties to see who would win the bonus point.
FULL-TIME: Gillingham 1-1 Colchester United
The penalty shootout saw Gillingham come out victorious in sudden death. Frank Nouble saw his penalty saved by Jake Turner, which set up Josh Chambers to win the shootout with the Gills’ fifth spot-kick.
Unfortunately, he saw his attempt saved. Marley Marshall-Miranda then missed his penalty, allowing Green to step up and calmly slot his effort into the bottom corner as he wrong-footed O’Hara in the Colchester goal.
Gillingham won the penalty shootout 5-4.
Gillingham: Turner, Alexander (Ehmer 46′), Wright, Baggott, Law, Jefferies (Chambers 78′), Williams (McKenzie 46′), Green, MacDonald (Adelakun 46′), Walker, Mandron (Kashket 46′).
Unused Substitutes: Morris, Akehurst
Colchester United: O’Hara, Ashley (Tchamadeu 80′), Chambers, Eastman, Clampin, Judge (Marshall-Miranda 84′), Longstaff, Newby, Chilvers, Lubala (Chesters 63′), Akinde (Nouble 63′).
Unused Substitutes: Hornby, Dallison, Kazeem
Referee: Sam Allison