Gillingham 1-3 Stoke
Tony Pulis enjoyed a successful return to Priestfield as his Stoke side survived an early scare to knock a spirited Gillingham out of the FA Cup.
The Gills took the lead when top-scorer Danny Kedwell fired home from a Danny Jackman cross.
But the visitors levelled when Jonathan Walters drilled the ball under goalkeeper Ross Flitney, before Cameron Jerome's volley put Stoke in front.
Defender Robert Huth headed in a third from a Wilson Palacios corner.
The home side rallied and enjoyed plenty of second-half pressure but, for all their effort and tenacity, failed to penetrate the Stoke defence for a second time.
It looked as though an upset might be on the cards when they took a deserved lead early on.
After a lively start from the home side, Jackman was allowed time to cross from the left and Chris Whelpdale flicked on before Kedwell controlled well and fired home from close range for his 11th goal of the season.
A scrappy period ensued and the Premier League side began to come in to the game more, forcing chances from successive corners.
Ryan Shawcross poked a clever backheel just wide before Huth, finding himself in space, headed over.
Stoke were level shortly after the half-hour mark through Walters following a neat interchange with Jerome, but Flitney will feel he should have done better after he allowed the ball to squeeze under his body.
Kenwyne Jones had a golden opportunity to put Stoke in front soon after, heading wide at the far post from a Walters cross when it looked easier to score.
But the away side soon had the lead, Ryan Shotton delivering a long throw-in which Shawcross headed against the crossbar, but the ball bounced kindly for Jerome, who fired a composed volley into the net.
Stoke continued to press after the break and doubled their advantage within five minutes of the re-start through Huth's well-placed downward header.
The visitors could have added to their tally with the impressive Jerome and substitute Ricardo Fuller missing excellent chances late on.
Gillingham were almost rewarded for their second-half pressure when substitute Luke Rooney forced a fine save from Asmir Begovic, but the League Two side were left frustrated.
Pulis, who was criticised by Gills chairman Paul Scally in the matchday programme after a long-running despite between the pair, received a warm reception from the home fans prior to kick-off, which he acknowledged by applauding all sides of the ground.
He will no doubt be happy with the fight and, ultimately, the quality Stoke produced to progress to the fourth round.
Gillingham manager Andy Hessenthaler told BBC Radio Kent:
"The first 35 minutes we were terrific, and then unfortunately for the last 10 minutes of the first half we switched off a couple of times.
"We felt down at half-time but felt we were in the game and at the start of the second half we switched off, they had a free header and you can't do that.
"I'm proud of my players. We're playing against a side who are not at the bottom of the Premier League. Year in, year out they're improving. I know he's made changes but it's a strong squad and you've got to take positives out of that."
Stoke City manager Tony Pulis told BBC Radio Stoke:
"In the first 20 minutes, they came out of the blocks a lot stronger than us and when they scored, it was no surprise.
"After they scored the goal, it seemed to settle us down. We had two great chances before we scored, and then when we scored, from that point onwards I didn't think we were going to lose the game.
"They were important goals and at important times."
- 01 Flitney
- 03 Frampton
- 06 Richards
- 15 Lawrence (Rooney - 65' )
- 18 Jackman
- 04 Lee Booked
- 07 Whelpdale
- 08 Payne
- 10 Weston
- 19 Montrose (Payne - 75' )
- 09 Kedwell (Oli - 63' )
- 28 Gazzaniga
- 16 Fish
- 20 Davies
- 14 Rooney
- 21 Rance
- 11 Oli
- 23 Payne
- 01 Begovic
- 04 Huth
- 17 Shawcross
- 20 Upson
- 30 Shotton (Whelan - 52' )
- 39 Woodgate
- 24 Delap Booked
- 40 Palacios (Whitehead - 60' )
- 09 Jones (Fuller - 73' )
- 19 Walters
- 33 Jerome
- 27 Nash
- 03 Higginbotham
- 06 Whelan
- 15 Diao
- 16 Pennant
- 18 Whitehead
- 10 Fuller
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.90:00 +4:10
The offside flag is raised against Cameron Jerome. Free kick taken by Ross Flitney.90:00 +1:37
Corner from the right by-line taken by Glenn Whelan, Shot on goal by Ricardo Fuller from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.90:00 +0:07
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Cameron Jerome by Charlie Lee. Glenn Whelan delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing.89:32
Jonathan Walters has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide right of the goal.87:31
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Charlie Lee.86:12
Corner taken by Charlie Lee, clearance by Rory Delap.85:23 Booking
Booking Booking for Charlie Lee for dissent.82:22
Ricardo Fuller is ruled offside. Ross Flitney restarts play with the free kick.80:54
Shot by Luke Rooney. Save made by Asmir Begovic. Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Danny Jackman, Robert Huth makes a clearance.80:17
Chris Whelpdale fouled by Dean Whitehead, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Charlie Lee, clearance made by Robert Huth.78:23
Danny Jackman takes a outswinging corner to the near post, Glenn Whelan manages to make a clearance.76:36
Cameron Jerome produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.75:37
Ricardo Fuller gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Garry Richards. Free kick taken by Ross Flitney.74:54 Substitution
Substitution Lewis Montrose leaves the field to be replaced by Stefan Payne.72:14 Substitution
Substitution Kenwyne Jones leaves the field to be replaced by Ricardo Fuller.70:29
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Luke Rooney from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by Glenn Whelan.67:27
Luke Rooney decides to take a short corner.66:28
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andy Frampton by Cameron Jerome. Direct free kick taken by Ross Flitney.64:46 Substitution
Substitution Luke Rooney comes on in place of Matt Lawrence.
Inswinging corner taken by Charlie Lee from the left by-line, Jonathan Woodgate makes a clearance. Danny Jackman takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Kenwyne Jones.62:06
Indirect free kick taken by Ross Flitney.62:06 Substitution
Substitution Dennis Oli is brought on as a substitute for Danny Kedwell.62:06
The assistant referee flags for offside against Jonathan Walters.61:11
Free kick awarded for a foul by Garry Richards on Kenwyne Jones. Free kick crossed right-footed by Glenn Whelan, clearance by Jack Payne.59:54 Substitution
Substitution Dean Whitehead joins the action as a substitute, replacing Wilson Palacios.51:03 Substitution
Substitution Glenn Whelan joins the action as a substitute, replacing Ryan Shotton.51:03
Effort on goal by Jonathan Walters from just inside the penalty area goes over the target.49:55
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Charlie Lee, Jonathan Woodgate manages to make a clearance.48:27
Wilson Palacios provided the assist for the goal.48:27 Goal scored
Goal! - Robert Huth - Gillingham 1 - 3 Stoke Robert Huth grabs a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Gillingham 1-3 Stoke.47:53
Inswinging corner taken by Wilson Palacios,45:01
The second half kicks off.45:00 +2:59 Half time
Half Time The half-time whistle blows.45:00 +0:49
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ryan Shotton by Charlie Lee. Free kick taken by Matthew Upson.43:00
Ryan Shawcross provided the assist for the goal. Ryan Shawcross takes a shot.43:00 Goal scored
Goal! - Cameron Jerome - Gillingham 1 - 2 Stoke Cameron Jerome grabs a goal from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Gillingham 1-2 Stoke.41:23
Header from deep inside the penalty area by Kenwyne Jones goes harmlessly over the crossbar.40:28
The referee blows for offside. Asmir Begovic takes the free kick.38:38
Rory Delap concedes a free kick for a foul on Curtis Weston. Ross Flitney takes the free kick.37:26
Free kick awarded for a foul by Curtis Weston on Ryan Shawcross. Asmir Begovic takes the direct free kick.33:12
Cameron Jerome provided the assist for the goal.33:12 Goal scored
Goal! - Jonathan Walters - Gillingham 1 - 1 Stoke Jonathan Walters fires in a goal from just inside the area low into the middle of the goal. Gillingham 1-1 Stoke.31:58
Inswinging corner taken by Charlie Lee.31:13
Danny Jackman takes the free kick.31:13 Booking
Booking Rory Delap receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.31:04
Free kick awarded for a foul by Rory Delap on Curtis Weston.30:10
Curtis Weston fouled by Wilson Palacios, the ref awards a free kick. Danny Jackman takes the direct free kick.26:14
Outswinging corner taken by Wilson Palacios from the right by-line, Robert Huth produces a header from inside the area that goes over the bar.25:47
Danny Kedwell concedes a free kick for a foul on Ryan Shawcross. Free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.23:57
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Wilson Palacios from the left by-line to the near post, Effort from inside the six-yard box by Ryan Shawcross goes wide left of the target.21:31
Shot from just outside the box by Curtis Weston goes over the target.20:31
The referee blows for offside against Danny Kedwell. Free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.17:54
Danny Jackman decides to take a short corner. The ball is delivered by Danny Jackman, Asmir Begovic makes a comfortable save.15:05
The assist for the goal came from Danny Jackman.15:05 Goal scored
Goal! - Danny Kedwell - Gillingham 1 - 0 Stoke A goal is scored by Danny Kedwell from close range low into the middle of the goal. Gillingham 1-0 Stoke.11:47
The official flags Kenwyne Jones offside. Indirect free kick taken by Ross Flitney.10:31
The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Asmir Begovic.9:30
Danny Jackman takes a short corner.1:01
Wilson Palacios takes the outswinging corner, clearance by Charlie Lee.0:00
The referee gets the game started.
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