Ipswich Town 1 Gillingham 0
GILLINGHAM'S romance with the Coca-Cola Cup, which had blossomed against Barnsley and Coventry, ended in tears at Portman Road last night.
The 6,000 supporters who had followed them up the A12 to Suffolk had their hearts broken by a goal 17 minutes from the end by teenage striker Richard Naylor, that Ipswich barely deserved.
Rancour and harsh words followed, with Gillingham's Simon Ratcliffe sent off for elbowing Adam Tanner.
With Ian Marshall sold and Alex Mathie out for the rest of the season, Ipswich are asking a lot these days of strikers Naylor, 19, and James Scowcroft, 21. They were offered few chances by a solid defence until the 73rd minute. Then, substitute Gus Uhlenbeek led a swift break and crossed for Naylor to shoot fiercely past Andy Marshall, the goalkeeper on loan from Norwich.
Ipswich were unable to find any rhythm in the first half, partly because of an injury to centre-half Jason Cundy. He was forced off for 12 minutes early on to have a cut head treated and then left for good 15 minutes later.
Steve Butler's ambitious volley almost cleared the stand, but the Gillingham striker should have done better right at the start of the second half. Sent clear by a long ball down the middle, he shot weakly and wide.