08 August 2023

Gillingham stun sorry Southampton in Carabao Cup

08 August 2023

Last season’s Carabao Cup semi-finalists Southampton were stunned in the opening round of this year’s competition with a 3-1 defeat at Gillingham.

Ashley Nadesan’s early strike and Robbie McKenzie’s double helped Neil Harris’ League Two side spring a shock against their Championship opponents, with Carlos Alcaraz’s strike proving nothing more than a consolation at Priestfield.

Saints boss Russell Martin made 11 changes to the team that beat Sheffield Wednesday in their Championship opener on Friday night.

And Gillingham went ahead after just 12 minutes when summer signing Nadesan slid in to poke Ethan Coleman’s cross past Alex McCarthy.

Martin almost saw his recently-relegated side’s night get worse when Coleman rose to meet Max Clark’s corner but the Gills midfielder headed narrowly off-target.

The visitors improved as the first half progressed, with Sekou Mara firing an effort against the bar and Moussa Djenepo testing Glenn Morris with a curling shot.

Gillingham beat Brentford en route to the last 16 last season and all-but sealed victory when midfielder McKenzie poked home from close range six minutes after the break.

McKenzie scored his second of the night in the 67th minute, capitalising on more lacklustre Southampton defending to shoot low past the helpless McCarthy.

Substitute Alcaraz curled home a fine consolation goal for the visitors with a minute of normal time remaining on an otherwise dismal night for the south coast side in Kent.

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