Under 23s: Gillingham vs West Ham United match preview

  • by Staff Writer
  • Tuesday, 26th October 2021

It’s winner-takes-all in tonight’s final Papa John’s Trophy group stage clash at the Priestfield Stadium, as West Ham United face Gillingham, whilst Colchester United take on Ipswich Town.

All four sides have three points each, from two games played. And with games to be decided by penalties in the event of a draw, the young Irons have their fate very much in their own hands.

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Coach Dmitri Halajko will be feeling very confident in his sides chances, coming on the back of the six goal demolition of Manchester United at the weekend.

Gills manager Steve Evans is set to make several changes following the 2-2 draw against Bolton on Saturday. Bailey Akehurst, Aaron Chapman, Gerald Sithole, Harvey Lintott, Ben Reeves, Olly Lee and Charlie Kelman could all start.

TICKETS: Tickets start at £10 for adults and can be purchased here.

STREAM: The game is available on the IFOLLOW platform for £10 and can be purchased here.

In Focus: Gillingham FC

Goalkeepers: Jamie Cumming, Aaron Chapman

Defenders: Ryan Jackson, David Tutonda, Max Ehmaer, Jack Tucker, Rhys Bennett, Harvey Lintott, Christian Maghoma, Bailey Akehurst

Midfielders: Stuart O’Keefe, Kyle Dempsey, Olly lee, Ben Reeves, Robbie McKenzie, Daniel Adshead, Daniel Lloyd-McGoldrick, Damiel Phillips, Henry Woods, Gerald Sithole

Forwards: Alexander Macdonald, Charlie Kelman, John Arkinde, Varddaine Oliver, Mustapha Carayol

ONE TO WATCH: John Arkinde

The Gills beat Colchester by a goal to nil in their opening group stage fixture, before suffering a 2-0 reverse at home to Ipswich Town. The Hammers came away from Suffolk with a 2-0 victory over Ipswich Town, before losing a tightly contested game with Colchester 1-0.

Current Form

Gillingham have managed just one win in six attempts throughout October, a 1-0 win against Doncaster Rovers proving to be the only high point. Suffering consecutive,2-0 defeats to Wigan, Ipswich and Wycombe, before going down 2-1 at home to Sunderland.

Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Bolton saw the Kent side let a two goal lead slip in the final moments, after goals from ex-Hammer Oladapo Afolayan (86 minutes) and Kieran Lee (91 minutes) denied Steve Evans the win.

Last Time Out

The Hammers last visited the Priestfield when the West Ham first team squad took on Gillingham in an FA Cup 3rd round tie in January 2020. The Irons ran out winners after two unanswered goals from Pablo Fornals and Pablo Zabaleta.

The Inside Word

Jamal Baptiste: “I think this’ll be one of our biggest games this year. Going into the game, both winners from each of the group games will go into the next round. Getting through to the knockout stages would be a really good achievement for us as a team.

"We should just start the game where we finished on Saturday – even start the game where we started on Saturday! We didn’t put a foot wrong and were positive for the whole 90 minutes – it’ll be tough, but we’ll try to do that again on Tuesday.

“Everyone in the team is confident at the moment. We’re all together, on and off the pitch, and we’re just working for each other – it’s paying off.

“We’ve come a long way. This time last year we were fighting near the bottom, this year we’re fighting for the top positions in the table. I think that’s a realistic target we can reach.

“I think the defenders will get more goals than the attackers this season! I was just buzzing to score another goal – it’s another asset to my game, and hopefully I can get another one going into Tuesday.

“We couldn’t ask for anything more from our last game. We didn’t concede, and scored many, great goals, just playing really well the whole game. I think that early goal helped us a lot and built us up as a team. It made us go again and just keep on going again and getting more goals.

“We were calm and composed on the ball, everyone wanted it – nobody was shy to get on it – and the quality was top across the team.”

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