After the disappointments of defeats to Exeter City and Colchester United, Gillingham got back to winning ways with an emphatic 5-0 victory over Morecambe.
It was Morecambe’s first ever League encounter with Gillingham, and it was one to forget for The Shrimps, as goals from Mark Bentley, a double from Simeon Jackson, Nicky Southall, and Mark McCammon gave Gillingham their fourth win in a row at the KRBS Priestfield Stadium.
It was the visitors who in fact started the brightest, enjoying the better possession and having the game’s first half-chances.
They then had the game’s first real chance on 15 minutes, when a goal bound header by defender David Artell was saved brilliantly by Simon Royce.
Morecambe started better, but Gillingham scored first, when on 21 minutes Mark Bentley found the back of the net from an Albert Jarrett free kick. Following a set piece routine involving Nicky Southall, Jarrett curled the ball to the far post for the unmarked Bentley to head in, and give the Gills the lead slightly against the run of the play.
But it wasn’t to be against the run of play when Simeon Jackson made it two for Gillingham three minutes later. After picking up a Nicky Southall pass on the edge of the box, the Canadian placed a low effort into the bottom corner to double Gillingham’s advantage.
After seeing the midfielders and strikers in on the scoring, defender Simon King fancied his chances to get on the scoresheet, when he smashed a shot on goal from the edge of the box. Morecambe keeper Barry Roche pushed King’s effort out for a corner, and after what happened from the resulting corner, the Gills were unlucky not to be 3-0 up.
Nicky Southall played a short corner in that was dummied twice before newly appointed captain Barry Fuller hit a shot that was blocked off the line. Simeon Jackson reacted well from the rebound and thought he’d put it in, but the ball hit the post and came back out to Mark Bentley, who put end to the attacking frenzy when he could only direct his header wide following the rebound off the post.
But it didn’t matter too much as Gillingham soon made it 3-0, when on 35 minutes Simeon Jackson got his second. After picking up the ball on the wing, Jackson drove the ball into the box before side stepping two Morecambe defenders and beating Barry Roche at his near post with a good low strike.
Gillingham continued to dominate for the rest of the half and had a couple of great chances to further their lead. Firstly, Gary Mulligan hit a shot just over after Andrew Barcham ran the ball into the box, and then Simeon Jackson was on for a hat-trick before having his shot blocked off the line.
Following the half-time break, Gillingham picked up where they left off and continued to push for a fourth. And Morecambe almost gave it to them, when substitute Neil Wainwright was thankful that his attempted clearance from Curtis Weston’s cross went the other side of the post and out for just a corner.
On 65 minutes, Simon King again tried to get on the scoresheet when he had a header just about saved by Roche. Southall lofted a free kick to the far post, where Andrew Barcham was on hand to send it back into the box for Simon King, but Roche held on at a second attempt to again deny King his chance to get on the scoresheet.
Barbados international Mark McCammon made his return to the side following a three game suspension when he came on for Gary Mulligan, and had an instant impact when he placed a low effort just wide after being sent through by Barry Fuller within six minutes of his introduction to the game.
A minute later he was largely responsible for Gillingham’s fourth of the match. After chasing down a long ball, McCammon forced Roche to come out of his area and clear rather wildly, and around 35 yards from goal, the ball went up, and back down to Nicky Southall, who simply had the task of hitting the ball into an empty net.
Ten minutes from time and Mark McCammon got his name on the scoresheet. The Barbadian striker got on the end of an Andrew Barcham cross from the left, and smashed a shot into the bottom right corner.
In the end, five goals in a five-star performance for the mighty Gills. Mark Stimson might’ve come under heavy criticism lately, but after seeing his Gillingham side totally outclass Morecambe in all departments, surely this is one big step towards reclaiming the support of the Gillingham faithful.