Gillingham 1 Millwall 0

Last updated : 19 August 2002 By Footymad Previewer

Gillingham are sitting pretty at the top of Nationwide Division One after three wins out of three giving player-manager Andy Hessenthaler good reason to celebrate his 37th birthday.

It betters Gilliingham's start last season which saw them take seven points out of the first nine, and lead the table for a day.

They had to work hard for this latest win. The goal that decided the game coming just after the hour from Guy Ipoua.

Gillingham and Millwall contests are always close affairs and this one was no exception.

Gillinham won all three games against the Lions last season and Hessenthaler wanted his team to continue their excellent start.

He rates Millwall highly and admitted his team were nervous at the start. Millwall made the brighter opening but Gillingham managed to contain the lively Paul Ifill and Neil Harris.

In fact Gillingham strikers Mamady Sidibe and Ipoua struggled to get the better of their markers Stuart Nethercott and Darren Ward.

Gillingham's best chances fell to Sidibe and defender Barry Ashby who saw his effort pushed away for a corner by Tony Warner.

Then Ipoua and Paul Shaw were denied just before half time.

Shaw, a former Millwall player, came closest to breaking the deadlock four minutes after the break.

He thumped the cross bar with a 25-yard strike and then Sidibe fired over with his back to goal.

Then came the goal that eventually won the game. Ashby's free-kick was nodded on by Sidibe and Ipoua was left to score with an angled shot into an empty net.

Afterwards Hessenthaler said: "I will be able to relax and enjoy my birthday with a few drinks. It's three wins in a row and will do wonders for our confidence."

A dissapointed Mark McGhee added: "We could have nicked it as they did because the game was always close. I know results are poor, I cannot fault the commitment of my players."