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  Saturday, 16 February, 2002, 16:54 GMT
Arsenal survive Gills scare
Adams scored on his return to the Arsenal side
Arsenal 5-2 Gillingham
E-mail your reaction to Football Talk

Arsenal were given a mighty fright by courageous Gillingham before easing through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

The game had been finely balanced at 2-2 until the 67th minute, when Arsenal skipper Tony Adams scored to rescue his side.

That goal finished off the visitors and Sylvain Wiltord and Ray Parlour scored further goals to make the scoreline look deceptively one-sided.

  Goals
38 mins: Wiltord puts Arsenal ahead with a clever flick.
47 mins: King equalises with a thumping right-footer.
50 mins: Arsenal go back ahead through Kanu.
54 mins: Gillingham's Gooden scores with a stunning lob.
67 mins: Arsenal skipper Adams heads his side into the lead.
81 mins: Wiltord puts Arsenal further ahead.
90 mins: Arsenal's Parlour scores with a stunning volley.

The home side had deservedly gone ahead in the first half through Wiltord but they had to survive a fierce challenge after the interval.

Marlon King equalised for the visitors, and although Kanu put the Gunners into the lead again, Ty Gooden pulled Gillingham level with a sensational 20-yard lob.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was sufficiently worried to throw on his leading scorer Thierry Henry and creator-supreme Robert Pires.

The change worked and Adams' strike sparked a flurry of goals for the home side.


I always believed we would win the game in the end but we needed to go up a gear and put some fresh legs on
Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager
Adams was making his first appearance for four months following injury and Lee Dixon and Francis Jeffers also came back from long lay-offs.

Brazilians Edu and Juan also came into a new-look side.

Despite the changes, Arsenal dominated the first half, with Wiltord and Edu hitting the woodwork in quick succession.

They took the lead in the 37th minute, when Wiltord cleverly flicked the ball into an unguarded net after Vince Bartram had parried Jeffers' 15-yard shot.

Where the first-half was a subdued affair, the second was scintillating.

King pulled Gillingham level with an arrowed drive from a clever Paul Shaw through-ball.

Arsenal responded with Kanu scoring from close range after Bartram had failed to hold a low, skimming Edu free-kick.


I am very proud of them and it was unfortunate we conceded five
Andy Hessenthaler
Gillingham boss
But the visitors came back again. Arsenal trainee Ty Gooden beat off the challenges of Patrick Vieira and Wiltord before sending an impudent lob over the head of Wright from 20 yards.

The Highbury crowd was stunned and the game was finely poised before Adams again proved Arsenal's hero.

He headed a Pires corner home from the edge of the six-yard box and Wiltord and Parlour added further goals to make the scoreline look cruelly one-sided.


Arsenal: Wright, Dixon, Adams, Campbell, Maldondo Duarte,Edu (Henry 63), Vieira, Parlour, Wiltord, Kanu (Grimandi 75), Jeffers (Pires 63).
Subs Not Used: Seaman, Stepanovs.

Gillingham: Bartram, Patterson, Ashby, Hope, Perpetuini, Osborn (Hessenthaler 77), Smith, Shaw, Gooden (Browning 78), King, Onuora (Ipoua 78).
Subs Not Used: Butters, Nosworthy.

Booked: Jeffers.

Attendance: 38,003.

Referee: A D'Urso (Billericay).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Dave Woods
"This was a classic Cup tie"
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
"I always felt we were in the game"
Gillingham's Ty Gooden
"For an hour I thought we matched them pretty well"
Links to more FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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