Gillingham had to work hard for their win at Folkestone Invicta on Saturday.
Former Dulwich Hamlet striker Jordan Green – one of five players on trial for the Gills – opened the scoring in the second half at BuildKent Stadium. Green also won the penalty which Olly Lee hid.
It was the first pre-season outing for both teams.
Gillingham have named four new signings to their squad, all of whom have started, while Invicta have six new faces in their roster.
The sons of former England players Des Walker and Dennis Wise – who were present at the game – were both among the players hoping to win a contract at Gillingham.
Lewis Walker was with Derby and QPR early in his career, but has recently played in Italy, with Como and then Athletic Carpi. Henry Wise is a former Watford Under-23 player.
Eight sophomores bolstered the ranks of the Gills who named 23 players for the game at BuildKent Stadium. Of these young players, defender Sam Gale and striker Joe Gbode have both started.
New faces for the Gills were goaltender Ashley Maynard-Brewer, Shaun Williams – with the captain’s armband – Dom Jefferies and Scott Kashket. Jake Turner (goalkeeper) and Will Wright were not included.
Former Cambridge and Southend man Leon Davies played right-back for the Gills while striker Bruno Andrade, who counts Lincoln, Salford and Stevenage among his former clubs, started on the left to support leader Gbode in a 4-2-3-1 montage.
Folkestone also named a few newcomers to their squad, looking for a big and powerful squad, providing a physical test for Gillingham. Isthmian’s Premier Division side have included newly signed former Tonbridge Angels striker Ibrahim Olutade in their XI.
Neil Cugley’s six summer signings have started, with Bailey Vose in goal. Nathan Green, Ian Gayle, James Rogers and Kadell Daniel all donned the amber and black shirt from the start.
The friendly match was refereed by Kent manager Kirsty Dowle, who was in charge of the women’s FA Cup final this summer.
Invicta – led by former Gills player Callum Davies – put the visitors under pressure early on with balls wide while Scott Heard fired wide from close range. Ade Yusuff broke another chance over the bar.
Gbode’s neat touch created a good chance for the Gills, sending Kashket away on the right, but when his low cross found its way to Andrade a crowd of defenders blocked his sight towards goal.
At the other end, Yusuff continued to be a handful and Maynard-Brewer had to hang on with a blistering effort with half an hour approaching on the clock.
With just minutes remaining in the first half, Shaun Williams came close with a bold effort from the halfway line, his shot going over Vose but falling just wide.
Patient approach play from the Gills resulted in some efforts from Bailey Akehurst being blocked.
Young centre-back Sam Gale was reprimanded by the referee as an enthusiastic challenge cleared Yusuff and from the free-kick, which hit the wall, the same Folkestone player fell into the box with reasonable shouts for a penalty which was shot. down.
It was all change for both sides at the break after a scoreless opener 45. Former Yeovil and Barnsley striker Jordan Green was in the second-half eleven for the Gills. Stuart O’Keefe led a much younger team from the restart.
Olly Lee played behind leader Walker in the second half for Gillingham with Matty MacArthur and Green on either side. MacArthur had substituted Kashket after half an hour, a substitution that was expected rather than an injury.
Young keeper Taite Holtam had a defense ahead of him that included three other second-year scholarship holders, left-back David Tutonda the only senior.
Gillingham hadn’t tested the home keeper in the first half, but Vose’s substitute Connor Collins was forced to work to avoid a snitch effort from MacArthur.
Moments later, with 56 minutes played, Gillingham took the lead. MacArthur beat the offside trap to run on a ball from Green who sent it back with just the keeper to beat. Collins kept his effort but Green was on hand to finish from close range.
Green cut a pass from behind to create another chance, playing Lee, but when he cut inside his shot went wide as he looked to pick the top corner.
Lee got on the scoresheet with 77 minutes in the game, converting from the penalty spot. Green was tripped by Matt Newman and although the Gills trialist looked like he wanted the kick, Lee took responsibility and sent the Invicta keeper the wrong way.
Walker fired on the Gills with five minutes left while Olutade – one of only two players to complete the 90 – fired over the bar for Invicta.
Folkestone (first half): Vose, Vincent, Green, Gayle, Davies, Rogers, Heard, Ronnie Dolan, Olutade, Yusuff, Daniel.
Second half: Collins, Yamfam, Green, Newman, Blanks, Draycott, Everitt, Gaye, Rob Dolan, Olutade, Sterling.
Gillingham (first half): Maynard-Brewer, Davies, Gale, Ehmer, Williams, Reeves, Gbode, Jefferies, Andrade, Kahsket (MacArthur 30 mins), Akehurst.
Second half: Holtam, Moore, Carter, Giles, Tutonda, O’Keefe, Wise, Greene, Lee, MacArthur (Dempsey 83 mins), Walker.