REPORT | Charlton 1 Gillingham 2

Despite a second half surge the Addicks fell to a 2-1 defeat at home to Gillingham on New Year’s Day. 

Josh Parker and Tom Eaves scored for the visitors in a poor first half for Charlton with a late Joe Aribo goal giving the Addicks faithful hope. 

Karl Robinson made three changes from Charlton's battling draw away at Wigan on Friday with Ben Reeves, Jake Forster-Caskey and Ricky Holmes returning to the starting lineup in place of Johnnie Jackson, Aribo and Karlan Ahearne-Grant.

Gillingham started brightly and Ben Amos made a brilliant save in the third minute to deny Eaves after he got in behind the Charlton defence. 

Charlton’s first effort at goal came in the ninth minute after some lovely, patient build-up play down the left. The ball found its way to Ricky Holmes who skipped past his defender. The winger’s cross was too deep for Josh Magennis but landed at the feet of Ben Reeves who dragged a shot just wide.

After some possession by the home side the visitors took an 11th minute lead. Eaves turned his defender and pulled a cross to the back post where Josh Parker was on hand to pass into the net.

Looking to get back in the game the Addicks caused concern in the Gillingham box in the 17th minute when a dangerous Forster-Caskey corner bounced around but never quite fell to a player in red. 

Gillingham made it 2-0 when Eaves, standing what looked like a few yards offside, poked home a Luke O’Neill cross from the right. 

O’Neill nearly had a goal for himself when he curled over a 38th minute free kick. 

Charlton finished the half with a spell of pressure and again looked most dangerous from set-pieces with Naby Sarr causing a nuisance of himself in the Gillingham penalty area. 

Robinson made two changes at half time with Leon Best and Aribo replacing Reeves and the injured Forster-Caskey as the Addicks moved into a 4-4-2 formation. 

The Addicks threatened immediately in the second half with Holmes whipping a cross in from the left which Magennis wasn’t quite able to hit the target with. 

Minutes later a fantastic cross from Ezri Konsa from the right fell to Best who wasn’t quite able to control the ball which had taken a deflection and his poked effort looped over the bar. 

Charlton got in again on 50 minutes when Best played a lovely one-two with Aribo to get in behind the Gillingham defence and was denied well by Holy. That was to be Best’s last action as he sustained an injury in the tackle following his shot and was replaced by Karlan Ahearne-Grant. 

The pressure continued and Magennis hit the crossbar in the 55th minute when he wasn’t quite able to keep a header down after a brilliant volleyed cross from Holmes. 

Charlton continued the attacking threat with Ahearne-Grant bursting away from the Gillingham defence on a counter attack and fizzing a cross across the face of the goal which Marshall wasn’t quite able to touch in. 

In the 66th minute a Holmes cross from the left to the back post was bravely headed behind by Bradley Garmston with Marshall lurking behind him ready to score. 

Charlton carved out another chance in the 75th minute when Marshall cleverly fed Konsa who cut back to Harry Lennon but the defender’s first time effort was well blocked. 

It was Holy to the rescue for Gillingham two minutes later when he brilliantly denied Magennis who looked like he had scored when he connected with another dangerous Marshall cross. 

The pressure continued with Marshall especially causing problems from the right, his 79th minute cross was headed just wide from a diving Ahearne-Grant. 

Aribo then had a shot brilliantly blocked when the ball fell to him from another Charlton corner. 

The pressure finally told and the midfielder netted getting in front of his defender to glance home a beautifully placed Holmes corner in the 83rd minute. 

Aribo nearly had his second shortly afterwards when Magennis smartly knocked down for him in the box. The youngster turned his defender but wasn’t quite able to get his shot on target. 

Marshall was next to come close when his driven effort flew just over Holy’s bar in the 88th minute. 

Despite dominating the second half and the continued pressure the visitors defence held strong and the Addicks were unable to find an equaliser. 

Charlton: Amos, Konsa, Sarr, Lennon, Dasilva, Kashi, Forster-Caskey© (Aribo, h/t), Marshall, Reeves (Best, h/t, Ahearne-Grant, 53), Holmes, Magennis

Subs (not used): Phillips, Jackson, Bauer, Dijksteel 

Booked: Forster-Caskey (28, foul on Martin), Kashi (90, foul on Clare), Lennon (90, foul on Byrne) 

Goal: Aribo (83)

Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Garmston (Ogilvie, 73), Ehmer, Zakuani, Hessenthaler, Eaves, Martin © (Oldaker, 75), Parker (Wilkinson, 73), Clare, Byrne

Subs (not used): Nelson, Lacey,, Cundle, Nash

Booked: O’Neill (45, foul on Holmes), Parker (52, foul on Marshall), Clare (90, timewasting) 

Goals: Parker (11), Eaves (32), 

Referee: O Langford.

Attendance: 11,979 (1,424 from Gillingham)

Read Time: 4 mins