Ball and Hunter goals enough for victory
Fleetwood town earned a superb 2-1 victory over Gillingham after a late Ashley Hunter goal sealed three points Highbury Stadium.
Town opened the scoring in the first half after a brilliant run from Kyle Dempsey led to a David Ball goal. In the second half, Jake Hessenthaler evened up the game before Hunter volleyed in the winner ten minutes from time.
Town made two changes to the side that faced Millwall last week, with Cian Bolger and Jack Sowerby came in for Ashley Eastham and Martyn Woolford. Gillingham swapped three players including goalkeeper Jonathon Bond as Stuart Nelson, Josh Wright and Deji Oshilaja were given starts.
The first shot on goal ended up breaking the deadlock for Fleetwood after 19 minutes. A swerving run from Dempsey saw the on-loan Huddersfield Town man through into the Gillingham box. His shot which was poached home at the back post by Ball.
The Gills tried to get straight back into the game after a lobbed through ball almost found Cory McDonald but he made his run too early, with the official flagging him offside.
With half time looming, Ball was knocked to the ground by Gillingham’s Chris Herd, which earned the defender a yellow card. It was Ball’s goal that saw Town one goal ahead at half-time.
Five minutes into the second half, Gillingham evened up the score line as the ball found its way to the edge of the Cod’s box and Hessenthaler produced a brilliant first time strike which went into the bottom left corner, even after a touch from Chris Neal.
In the 66thminute, Town could have made it two as Chris Long timed his run perfectly for a through ball from Dempsey. However, his left-footed shot was cleverly pushed just wide by Nelson.
The game died down for the next ten minutes until substitute Hunter ran at Herd, rounding his man and taking on a curled long shot which flew high and wide.
In the 82ndminute, Town took the lead for the second time in the game as Conor McLaughlin drilled a cross into the Gillingham box and Hunter volleyed the ball into the back of the net, even with Nelson getting a touch.
Gillingham almost evened up the score line once again with five minutes left as Franck Nouble passed the ball between McLaughlin’s legs but his shot was well blocked by Nathan Pond.
FTFC:Chris Neal, Conor McLaughlin, Nathan Pond, Cian Bolger, Amari’i Bell, Kyle Dempsey, Jimmy Ryan, Bobby Grant, David Ball (Devante Cole, 77’), Chris Long (Ashley Hunter, 67’), Jack Sowerby (Victor Nirennold, 53’).
UNUSED SUBS:Alex Cairns, Ashley Eastham, Eggert Jonsson, Martyn Woolford.
GFC:Stuart Nelson, Deji Oshilaja, Chris Herd (Josh Pask, 80’), Max Ehmer, Paul Konchesky, Josh Wright, Jake Hessenthaler, Billy Knott, Franck Nouble (Elliot List, 88’), Cody McDonald (Rory Donnelly, 88’), Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.
UNUSED SUBS:Tom Hadler, Emmanuel Osadebe, Darren Oldaker, Mark Byrne.
Ass. REFEREES:Nicholas Barnard, Simon Clayton, Anthony Moore (4th).
ATTENDANCE:2,600 w/ 198 away supporters