Salford City’s disappointing week continued as they fell to a second consecutive league defeat to Gillingham at Priestfield Stadium.

Having picked up double the number of wins on the road than at the Peninsula Stadium this season, the Ammies were looking to respond to their midweek FA Cup penalty shoot-out defeat to Peterborough.

However, Saturday’s result will have done little to satisfy the 50 Salford away fans who made the 400-mile round journey to a windy Kent.

Victory in Stephen Clemence’s first league game at Priestfield Stadium will leave him with further goodwill from the fans as the Gills scored three goals in a league game for the first time this season.

In the third-ever meeting between the sides Salford dominated possession at the beginning of the first half but failed to create a single clear-cut chance. Their best opportunity came through a Luke Garbutt shot eventually blocked by Conor Masterson.

Gillingham took the lead midway through the first half with their first attack of the game. Connor Mahoney put the home side ahead from the edge of the box with a low left-footed drive into the bottom left corner, after Salford’s defence afforded him too much time and space.

Garbutt was forced off with injury just after the half-hour mark, and Neil Wood replaced the former Everton man with midfielder Conor McAleny. Salford then moved from five at the back to a more attacking 4-4-2 formation.

The Ammies responded within five minutes of this change as Matt Smith placed Ryan Watson’s floated ball into the bottom left corner, in what was Salford’s first shot on target. It was Smith’s 14th league goal this season, taking him one past Notts County’s Macaulay Langstaff and Swindon’s Jake Young as the league’s top goal scorer.

The two sides could not be separated at the break, with neither keeper having made a save as the referee blew his half-time whistle.

Gillingham reinstated their lead just seven minutes into the second half. Their top assister Tom Nichols this time turned scorer, as he directed a well-aimed header into the top right of Alex Cairns’ net.

Dom Jeffries further compounded the visitor’s misery. Left unmarked at the back he nodded in a cross from right back Cheye Alexander for a third strike for the Gills.

Gillingham v Salford City. Image taken by Adam Pogrund.

Once two goals ahead Gillingham comfortably closed out the game. Salford came closest to responding in the second half through Matt Smith. League Two’s October Player of the Month was sent clear on goal before he was denied by Turner with the scoreline stuck at 3-1.

The loss has kept Salford in 15th place, whilst Gillingham move up to 8th, one point behind Accrington Stanley in the play-off positions.

Salford host mid-table MK Dons next before travelling to leaders Stockport, and Neil Wood will hope to improve his side’s fortunes after three losses in the past seven days.

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