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BEES: Bridport sunk by the Gills
BRIDPORT 2 GILLINGHAM TOWN 3
TITLE-CHASERS Gillingham Town were pushed all the way by the Bees in a five-goal thriller at St Mary’s Field.
Max Buckler gave Bridport a first-half lead only to see it cancelled out by Daniel Thomp-son just moments later.
Ben Thomson put the Gills in front on 52 minutes and Steve Smith, on loan at the Bees earlier in the season, made it 3-1 in injury-time.
The hosts fought to the end and Tom Richardson pulled a goal back with virtually the last kick of the match.
“I thought we played really well,” said Bees’ boss Trevor Senior. “How we didn’t take anything from the game I don’t know because we had enough chances to win it.
“We were on top in the first half and played some good stuff in tricky conditions, but we didn’t make our dominance count.
“Their second and third goals were disappointing from our point of view, though we finished the game really strongly.
“It could have been a lot different and we have to take into account we were playing with a patched up team.”
With first-choice keeper Sam Filkins suspended, Senior called up Billy Fleet from the reserves, while Gary Bulman started after impressing at Street on Boxing Day.
Bridport, who had several players carrying knocks, had the better start in terms of chances and Richardson went close on a couple of occasions.
Dovell also tested Gills’ keeper Jamie Beale early on and the hosts went in front on 26 minutes when Buckler scrambled the ball into the net after Chris Clarke had headed a Dan Wise free-kick across goal.
But three minutes later, the visitors were level, Thompson side-footing past Fleet to make it 1-1.
A great tackle by Shane Evans set up the last chance of the half as Beale palmed Wise’s curling effort away for a corner.
The second period was seven minutes old when Thomson got on the end of a Harry Baker centre to put the Gills ahead and with the lively Aaron Rodriguez running the midfield, there looked to be more goals on the way.
A couple of timely clearances and blocks prevented the Gills adding to their tally and the Bees could well have equalised at the end of normal time only for a header by substitute Sean Stew-art to flash wide.
Bulman went even closer after that when his long-range effort skimmed the crossbar.
With time nearly up, Gilling-ham broke away and Smith smashed the ball past Fleet, who will know he should have done better at saving it.
Richardson went up the other end to make it 3-2 but there was not enough time left for the Bees to rescue a point.
Bees: B Fleet, G Bulman, C Clarke (Steele 81), Evans, Watts, Hayter, Luke (Staines 81), Wise, Richardson, Dovell (Stewart 71), M Buckler. Subs not used: J Filkins, Morley
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