Report: Rovers 1-2 Gillingham
Doncaster Rovers- 1 (Main- 90+3)
Gillingham- 2 (Norris- 51, 77)
Saturday 13th December, 2014
Sky Bet League One
After making a number of changes in midweek, Paul Dickov reverted back to the side that won at Oldham in last weeks FA Cup second round.
It was a scrappy first half of football for both sides, Rovers had the edge in terms of possession but tight defending at the back denied them on numerous occasions.
There was an early chance for the home side as a corner straight from the training ground fell to Paul Keegan whose shot from distance, despite being struck hard, was well saved by Stuart Nelson.
Minutes later Curtis Main found himself through on goal. Instead of going for the first time shot he rounded the keeper but the Gills got defenders back to deny the opening goal.
The visitors first chance came as Brennan Dickensen dispossessed Kyle Bennett in midfield and charged towards goal. Getting his shot away, Sam Johnstone was relieved to see the ball go just wide of his post.
On the 15 minute mark the home side should have gone ahead through James Coppinger. A dangerous ball across the face of goal by Main was met by the Rovers captain but Nelson smartly saved from 10 yards.
It was Rovers who threatened again, this time through a lively Kyle Bennett. Main headed the ball into the path of the winger who skipped past a number of defenders before getting his shot away but it was another good save from Nelson, who was being kept busy.
On the half hour mark another short corner caught the visitors out, this time it was Richie Wellens who was given space to drive into the box. After a real scrap in the six yard box somehow Gillingham escaped and got the ball clear.
With Gillingham defending deep Rovers struggled to get the breakthrough, and Nelson was called into action again on the stroke of half time as a deflected Bennett shot almost found its way through.
Despite Rovers being on top, the teams went in level at the break.
Half time score: Rovers 0-0 Gillingham
The visitors came out a different side in the second half and within 15 seconds John Egan fired a vicious shot from 35 yards, missing the crossbar by only inches.
The Gills were rewarded for their lively start to the second half when a scuffed shot from Michael Doughty somehow found its’ way to Luke Norris at the back post. Determined to beat his man, Norris tapped home from close range.
Paul Dickov looked for options and immediately withdrew Paul Keegan for Harry Forrester to try and find a way back into the game.
Coppinger came agonisingly close after being put through by Wellens, but up against two defenders he poked his effort just inches wide.
Frustration was growing for the home side and as they threw players forward The Gills played on the counter attack. Against the run of play Norris added his second of the game as he tried his luck from distance and brilliantly found the bottom corner.
There was a late surge from Rovers as Wabara headed against the bar from a Bennett corner, before Theo Robinson was brought down in the box forcing the referee to give a penalty.
Main confidently stepped up and converted the spot kick but it was too little too late as the referee blew for full time just seconds later.
Team line ups-
Rovers: Sam Johnstone, Enda Stevens, Andy Butler, Luke McCullough, Reece Wabara, Richie Wellens, Paul Keegan (Harry Forrester- 57), Kyle Bennett, James Coppinger, Theo Robinson, Curtis Main.
Subs not used: Marko Marosi, Cedric Evina, Liam Wakefield, Marc De Val, Billy Whitehouse, Jack McKay
Cautions: Reece Wabara- 40
Gillingham: Stuart Nelson, John Egan, Max Ehmer, Leon Legge, Jake Hessenthaler, Joe Martin, Michael Doughty, Doug Loft, Bradley Dack (Danny Galbreith- 79), Brennan Dickenson, Luke Norris
Subs not used: Stephen Bywater, Gavin Hoyte, Harry Lennon, Josh Pritchard, Jermaine McGlashan, Cody McDonald
Cautions: John Egan- 69, Bradley Dack- 71, Stuart Nelson- 93