Gillingham Town ended their five-game winless streak with an impressive victory over high-flyers Bristol Manor Farm – with manager Kevan Davis admitting victory was never in doubt, despite his side slipping behind.
Two goals from Steve Smith eclipsed Pete Sheppard’s opener for the home side to hand the Gills a crucial three points in the Toolstation Western League Premier Division.
“I think it was a massive lift for the whole club really” said Davis. “The huge changes we’ve had here really rocked the boat, but we seem to be coming out the other side of it.
“Even when we went behind, I was confident we would go on to win. Everyone focused on what they had to do. I don’t know why it suddenly came together again, but it did.”
Gillingham almost opened the scoring in the second minute of play when a thunderous volley from Benjani Ben Salem crashed off the crossbar and luckily for the hosts, away to safety.
After being given an early scare, the home side began to dominate possession. Bristol took the lead on 13 minutes, helped by a huge chunk of fortune. A free kick deflected off a Gills player and onto the crossbar, falling to Sheppard inside the six yard box, who scored with ease.
Gillingham levelled against the run of play when Smith took advantage of a defensive error after 33 minutes. Smith was able to latch onto Ryan Murray’s long ball, before sliding the ball past Manor Farm goalkeeper Ashley Clark.
Gillingham were given a lifeline when Manor Farm conceded a penalty on the hour mark for a shove on Smith in the box. The striker got back on his feet and sent Clark the wrong way to give his side the lead.
The Gills will hope to build on their confident victory when they host unbeaten league leaders Larkhall Athletic on Saturday.
Davis played down the good form of striker Smith, who has scored four goals in his last two games for the Gills.
“It’s more important that we are creating the chances” he said.” If we continue to do that, the goals will come.
“We’ve got another tough game on Saturday, but if we play like that again, there’s no reason we can’t beat Larkhall. I’m really looking forward to the game and I’m hoping we can build on this and put in the same performance."