REPORT | Gillingham 0 Charlton 2

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Charlton cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win in their final away game of the regular season at Priestfield Stadium against mid-table Gillingham.

Joe Aribo scored his eighth of the season and Josh Cullen netted his first goal for the Addicks as Charlton controlled the first half and rarely needed to get out of first gear in the second for another three points. 

Lee Bowyer made four changes from the side that crushed Scunthorpe United on Easter Monday with Jason Pearce, George Lapslie, Darren Pratley and Jonny Williams replacing Ben Reeves and Albie Morgan, who moved to the bench, and Lyle Taylor and Patrick Bauer, who missed out with injury. 

The change in in the starting lineup meant an adjustment in formation with the Addicks starting the game with three centre-halves, two wing backs, a diamond in midfield and Igor Vetokele up front. 

It was the Gills that had the first sight at goal when Connor Ogilvie headed over from a corner for the home side in the sixth minute.

Jonny Williams, a constant threat, had the Addicks first decent chance on the quarter hour mark when Aribo played a clever ball into his feet from the right. The Welsh international controlled well with his first touch but blasted high and wide.

Williams was close to scoring again just minutes later when Vetokele played him in with a wonderfully clever first-time flick but former Charlton academy graduate Barry Fuller got back just in time to deny the midfielder.

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With Charlton on top and controlling much of the possession, Tahvon Campbell nearly gave the home side a shock 21st minute lead. His drive from just inside the area was brilliantly tipped over the bar by the in-form Dillon Phillips.

The Addicks took the lead shortly after that as Aribo scored his second in as many games. The midfielder collected a loose ball that bounced off Purrington and played it back into the wing back’s path. From the left wing Purrington cut back to Aribo who calmly swept the ball across goalkeeper Tomas Holy and into the bottom corner of the Gills goal with a first-time, left-footed strike. 

Former Addick Reegan Charles-Cook forced a comfortable save from Phillips with a right-footed strike after cutting in from the left but it was all Charlton.

The Addicks doubled their lead just before the half after winning the ball back high up the pitch. Williams’ shot from near the byline was saved by Holy but straight into the path of Cullen who passed home from eight yards out. 

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Charlton began the second half with intensity and Vetokele, who worked hard throughout, was well denied by Holy after getting on the end of a Cullen through ball. The ball came out to Aribo who played Vetokele in again but his first-time effort was blocked behind for a corner.

Holy was again on top form to prevent Purrington opening his Charlton account. Aribo played in Williams down the right wing whose cross across the face goal was just behind Vetekele but found Purrington steaming in at the back post, the wing-back’s powerful effort was batted behind for a corner by Holy.

From there the Addicks took their foot off the pedal and barring a curling Cullen effort from a short corner barely troubled Holy again. 

That was until the 87th minute when a superb Addicks counter attack involving Aribo, Cullen and substitute Morgan resulted in Cullen heading over from six yards out.

At the other end nothing was getting through the Charlton defence with skipper Pearce getting his head on everything as the Addicks completed their first win at Priestfield Stadium since 1980.

Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Ehmer (C), Hanlan, Charles-Cook (Parrett, 65), Fuller, Campbell (Eaves h/t), List (Rees, 71), Lopes, Byrne, Ogilvie

Subs (not used): Hadler, Garmston, Lacey, Oldaker

Booked: O’Neill (18, foul on Cullen), Ogilvie (83, foul on Vetokele)

Charlton: Phillips; Lapslie (Morgan 86), Dijksteel, Pearce (C), Sarr, Purrington; Cullen, Pratley, Aribo, Williams (Parker, 78); Vetokele

Subs (not used): Maynard-Brewer, Page, Forster-Caskey, Morgan, Doughty, Reeves

Goals: Aribo 24, Cullen 42

Booked: Pratley (45, foul on Lopes), Cullen (81, foul on Fuller)

Referee: L Swabey

Attendance: 8,047 (2,306 from Charlton)

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