Match Report: Gillingham 1 Stoke City 3
FA CUP THIRD ROUND
GILLINGHAM 1 (Kedwell,
STOKE 3 (Walters 34, Jerome, 44, Huth, 49)
By Michael Baggaley at the Priestfield Stadium.
STOKE came from behind to secure their place in the FA Cup
fourth round as goals from Jon Walters, Cameron Jerome and Robert Huth earned a 3-1 win at Gillingham this afternoon.
The prospect of a cup shock loomed large when Danny Kedwell put
the League Two side in front after 16 minutes, but Walters eased City nerves as
he fired under keeper Ross Flitney on 34 minutes.
Jerome put City in front a minute before the break before
Huth's header helped last year's finalists to victory.
Tony Pulis was banned from the boardroom by Gills chairman
Paul Scally for the game. That followed their fall out after Pulis was axed as manager at the
Priestfield Stadium in 1999.
However, the Stoke boss was given a warm welcome by the home
fans as he waved to all four stands before kick off.
Pulis fielded a
strong side, including his first-choice centre back pairing Ryan Shawcross and
Matthew Upson came in for Marc Wilson at left back, Cameron
Jerome replaced Matthew Etherington on the left, Rory Delap and Wilson Palacios came in for
Glenn Whelan and Dean Whitehead in midfield and Kenwyne Jones replaced Peter
Crouch up front.
Asmir Begovic also got a first team chance as he stepped in
for Thomas Sorensen.
Gillingham were given a taste of what was to come as Lewis
Montrose headed just over his own bar after a Rory Delap long throw caused
problems in the home area.
But Stoke were given a warning on ten minutes when Jonathan Woodgate
had to get in a vital header against Kedwell to deny the striker a close-range opener.
City had no escape six minutes later when Danny Jackman's
cross from the left dropped to the Gills leading scorer. Kedwell made no
mistake as he sidefooted the ball past Begovic from six yards for his 11th
goal of the season.
Curtis Weston fired over from 25 yards as Stoke wobbled, but
City threatened on 22 minutes when Palacios whipped in a corner low to the near
post and but Shawcross back-heeled into the side netting.
Palacios's corner was headed inches over by Huth but Stoke's
frustration mounted as Delap was booked
for a foul on Weston.
However, City levelled on 34 minutes after clever play from
Jerome and Walters. Jerome sent a perfectly weighted through ball to his team
mate who was one-on-one against keeper Ross Flitney.
The forward didn't strike the ball cleanly, but it was good
enough to beat Flitney who allowed the ball to go under his body and into the
middle of the net.
Stoke should have taken the lead on 42 minutes when Walters
volleyed a perfect cross for Jones at the back post. The striker seemed certain
to score when he rose above his marker, but he headed over from six yards.
But City took the lead on 44 minutes after Ryan Shotton won
a throw by the corner flag on the right. Delap's delivery was met by Shawcross
whose header hit the bar……but dropped down to Jerome who volleyed into the roof
of the net from a yard out.
Gillingham 1 Stoke 2
City extended their lead just four minutes into the second
half after winning a corner on the left. Palacios's inswinger was met by Robert
Huth who powered a header into the top corner.
Jerome's clever flick sent Walters racing through in the
area, but he was off-balance as he fired well over and into the Stoke fans.
Glenn Whelan replaced Ryan Shotton on 52 minutes , which
meant Rory Delap switching from the centre to the right-midfield spot vacated
Dean Whitehead came on for Palacios on 61 minutes before
City came mightily close to a fourth a minute later. Whelan's inswinging free
kick rebounded to Jerome, but his strike from four yards was blocked by Flitney.
Goalscorer Kedwell was replaced by Dennis Oli on 63 minutes
before Luke Rooney came on for Matt Lawrence on 66.
The travelling supporters roared their appreciation as
Ricardo Fuller was introduced on 73 minutes, replacing Jones, who also got a rousing and
appreciative send off.
The substitute broke into the area almost immediately, but
his pull-back was cut out by Charlie Lee.
Fuller and Walters combined to free Jerome on goal on 77
minutes, but the ball appeared to bobble as Jerome skied his shot harmlessly
Begovic turned substitute Luke Rooney's blistering strike
around the post on 83 minutes as Gillingham piled on the pressure in the
Fuller volleyed Whelan's corner just over in injury time but
it didn't matter as City took the first step on the road back to Wembley.
GILLINGHAM: Flitney, Lee, Richards, Lawrence (Rooney,
66),Frampton, Montrose (S Payne, 76,) J Payne, Whelpdale, Jackman, Weston,
Kedwell (Oli, 63).
Subs: Fish, Davies,
STOKE: Begovic, Woodgate, Huth, Shawcross, Upson, Shotton
(Whelan, 52), Delap, Palacios (Whitehead, 62), Jerome, Walters, Jones (Fuller,
Subs: Higginbotham, Diao, Pennant, Nash.
Referee: Mark Halsey