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12 December 2020 Venue The Keepmoat Stadium Attendance

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Rovers vs Gillingham

11 December 2020

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Rovers return to the Keepmoat Stadium to take on Gillingham in Sky Bet League One this weekend.

Darren Moore’s side won 2-0 at Northampton Town last time out, with goals from Tyreece John-Jules and Joe Wright securing all three points. 

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Gillingham’s recent form 

The Gills are unbeaten in their past five league games, with their last defeat coming at home to Sunderland at the end of October. They responded well to that, beating Crewe Alexandra on the road before holding Charlton Athletic to a 1-1 draw at Priestfield Stadium. 

Their good form continued with a 2-1 win at home to AFC Wimbledon, before another victory on their travels at Bristol Rovers. Their last outing saw another three points on home soil, beating Swindon Town 2-0.

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Saturday’s matchday programme is now available

11 December 2020

The man in charge 

Former Rotherham and Leeds United manager Steve Evans was appointed as the Gills’ new boss in May 2019, taking over from Steve Lovell. Since taking over, Evans has been in charge of 67 Gillingham matches, winning 25, drawing 21 and losing 21, giving him an overall win percentage of 37.3%. 

 

Ones to watch 

Kyle Dempsey 

The 25-year-old midfielder joined Gillingham in the summer after leaving fellow Sky Bet League One side Fleetwood Town, and was immediately handed the captain’s armband at Priestfield Stadium. After starting his career with hometown club Carlisle United, Dempsey earned a move to Sky Bet Championship club Huddersfield Town in 2015.  

Having struggled for game time in his two years at the John Smith’s Stadium, he moved to Fleetwood after a successful loan spell. The spell with the cod army was perhaps the best of his career so far, playing more than 80 times and helping them establish themselves in the third tier. 

 

Dominic Samuel 

Having started his career at Sky Bet Championship side Reading, the 6ft 2inch striker spent time on loan with Gillingham in the 2015/16 campaign, before joining Blackburn Rovers on a permanent deal. 

The 26-year-old spent three seasons at Ewood Park, and helped them earn promotion back to the second tier in the 2018. He joined Gillingham on a permanent deal in the summer to bolster Steve Evans’ forward line.  

 

Vadaine Oliver 

The Sheffield-born striker is now with his seventh club after joining Gillingham in the summer. After coming through the ranks at Sheffield Wednesday, Oliver enjoyed spells with Lincoln City, Crewe Alexandra, York City and Morecambe before joining Northampton Town in 2019. 

His sole season at Sixfields saw him help the side to promotion from Sky Bet League Two via the play-offs, before his move to Priestfield to work with Steve Evans. 

 

Last time out 

Gillingham beat Rovers 2-1 when the two sides last met in Sky Bet League One back in February. Ben Sheaf had given Darren Moore’s side an early lead, before two own-goals from Cameron John turned the game on its head.  

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Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 2 Gillingham 1

12 December 2020

Goals from Reece James and Brad Halliday meant Rovers make it back-to-back wins after beating Gillingham at the Keepmoat Stadium.

There was one change from the side that over came Northampton Town 2-0 last weekend. Matt Smith returned to starting XI for Joe Wright. Steve Evans’ side lined-up with a 4-1-2-1-2 formation with John Akinde and Vadaine Oliver leading the pack.  

Darren Moore’s side enjoyed an early share of the possession, utilising the right-hand side of the pitch through Josh Sims and Brad Halliday. 

Southampton loanee Sims continued to run the show. On this occasion it was him and Taylor Richards with a quick one-two in the box but the return for Sims made it difficult for him to control his shot.  

On the 14th minute a shot came from Tyreece John-Jules which deflected to the feet of Reece James. The left back turned winger was able to turn but his resulting shot and was blocked by a resolute Gillingham defence. John-Jules almost had another goal 10 minutes later, but took one too many touches before dragging his shot wide of the mark.  

In between John-Jules’ chances, Andy Butler almost scored his first goal since re-signing for the club – as his header bounced over the cross bar after a teasing free kick from Rovers.  

On 29 minutes Rovers deservedly steamed into the lead through a superbly worked goal which started with a pass into the box from Brad Halliday to John-Jules. The forward then teed-up James who delicately caressed the ball into the bottom right corner.  

In response to James’ opener, the Gills briefly upped the ante which saw one snapshot on goal from distance for Alex MacDonald, but he found the side netting instead of the back of the goal. 

Rovers came in at half-time with their lead intact and in full control of the game.  

Steve Evans shuck things up as the second-half was due to get underway with Alex MacDonald and John Akinde making way for Zech Medley and Jacob Mellis.  

The changes seemed to have worked with Kyle Dempsey bringing his team level from outside of the box but the draw was short lived with Halliday getting his first goal in red and white to bring Rovers back in front.  

John-Jules was desperate to add his name to the scoresheet with him curling an effort past the top left corner. He would later have another effort which would trickle wide from the acute angle.  

A quick breakaway from Rovers on the 63rd minute came courtesy of Sims. Whiteman could’ve taken the shot himself, but instead gave Richards a chance to get his second of the season. However, the Brighton loanee shot straight into the arms of Bonham.  Four minutes later and Richards tried his luck for a second time but still could not beat the Gills goalkeeper.  

Sims was almost rewarded for his outstanding shift in the game as he cut in on his left foot and forced a magnificent save from Bonham who had no choice but to tip the ball over his bar.  

On the 75th minute Jon Taylor made his first appearance after his injury which he sustained vs AFC Wimbledon.  

He was followed onto the pitch five minutes later by Fejiri Okenabirhie who almost put the game to the bed as he saw his thunderous bounce off the inside of the post and back out.  

Rovers withstood a final wave of pressure from Gillingham to bag the three points. 

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