Chatham Town came from behind against a young Gills side to win Saturday’s pre-season friendly 3-2 at the Bauvill Stadium.
Goals from Lawal, Strouts and Robins gave the hosts a narrow victory against a Gills side which contained a number of young pros and apprentices.
Gills started the game well and took the lead after nine minutes when a left footed cross from Akehurst was initially headed away, the ball was put back in the mix and Gbode, on the half turn, struck a shot in off the post and into the back of the net.
It was a smart finish from the forward who instinctively took on the shot, giving former Gills stopper Henry Newcombe no chance. Shortly after, at the other end, Crump did well to stop a close range effort from Evans.
Newcombe did very well a few minutes later to win the ball as Josh Chambers looked to round the stopper for a tap in. The keeper did just enough to put him off and the follow up from Trialist was well blocked.
The Gills number seven, on trial, made a brilliant run on 23 minutes and timed a pass to Sithole well on the left wing. The forward composed himself and placed a shot from inside the box beyond the reach of Newcombe to add a second.
However the one goal deficit lasted just a couple of minutes when Lawal grabbed half a yard on his man from a corner kick, and he was in the right place to head home from close range.
Chatham struck the post from a free-kick just after the half hour mark, following some good play by Luke Rooney before Josh Chambers struck the bar after attempting a delicate chip from inside the box. It beat Newcombe, but the underside of the bar came to the rescue.
Crump made a strong save to deny Rooney in the 34th minute when a low drive was gathered by the Gills number one.
Ronald Sithole and Sam Gale came on at the break in place of Gerald Sithole and Oli Britton, but it was Ethan Smith who had the first chance of the second half. His effort from inside the box was well blocked by Newcombe.
Chatham drew level on 53 minutes when Robins, left footed, placed an effort into the top corner from 25 yards giving Crump no chance. Akehurst went close with a free-kick moments later, but it went narrowly wide of the right post.
A host of subs were made by both teams midway through the half and Chatham’s comparative seniority made a difference on 73 minutes when Strouts was well placed to tap home from a few yards out following a decent stop by Crump who had got down well to a low cross initially. However, the forward was first to the loose ball.
Gills sent men forward in the closing stages in search of an equalizer, but Chatham held on to secure victory.
Chatham starting XI: Newcombe, Lawal, Friend, Butler, Palmby, Robins, R. Hayes, Pilbeam, Rooney, Evans, Strouts.
Gills (additonal subs made): Crump. Lintott, Carter, Giles, Akehurst, Britton (Gale 46), Smith, Trialist, Sithole (Sithole 46), Chambers, G. Sithole.
Match Summary from Gillingham FC