REPORT: Gillingham 1 Rovers 1
Gillingham 1 (Marquis 44,)
Doncaster Rovers 1 (Forrester 40,)
Priestfield Stadium, Gillingham
Saturday 7th March 2015
Sky Bet League One
Paul Dickov named one change in the starting line up, James Coppinger came in for the injured Keegan. It was Coppinger who was involved in the visitor’s first meaningful attack, linking up well with Wabara who drilled a dangerous ball across the six-yard box 4 minutes into the game.
Both sides looked equally matched for most of the opening exchanges and on 13 minutes Gillingham created their first half chance, McDonald rising highest at the back post only to head the ball straight at Bywater who collected easily.
Bywater looked beaten three minutes later when Dack looked to have lifted the ball over the Rovers keeper from inside the area, Andy Butler was is a good position and managed to head clear from under his own crossbar.
Approaching the half hour mark Rovers were on the receiving end of a series of tackles, Coppinger was the latest player to feel the force of the Gills midfield and was in need of treatment, much to the concern on the Rovers bench. The fears were confirmed when he passed the armband to Butler and was forced to be substituted.
Once play resumed on 34 minutes Rovers had their best chance of the half, a deliver from the right was met by Bulter with a glancing header from close range but went just wide of Nelson’s post.
With five minutes to go until half time the substitute FORRESTER saw the Gills keeper off his line whilst taking a free kick from 45 yards out his swirling effort from near the half way line looped over Nelson who was left embarrassed. Forrester ran the length of the pitch to celebrate that spectacular effort in front of the Rovers faithful.
The lead didn’t last for long when on 44 minutes Gillingham had a free kick on the right, the delivery was again caught in the wind in the direction of the near post, Bywater was beaten to the ball by MARQUIS who headed into the top corner to level things before the break.
Half time – Gillingham 1 – 1 Rovers
Rovers kicked off the second half but it was on 51 minutes that the Gills goalscorer Marquis managed to wriggle free of Wabara but dragged his shot across goal and just past the post. Moments later and the midfielder Egan was disappointed not to do better with his free header, sending the ball over Bywater’s crossbar.
Two minutes past the hour mark and Rovers had a fantastic opportunity to re-take the lead. A free kick delivered to Butler at the back post was headed back across goal into the path of Main six yards out who made a heavy contact sending the ball over the Gillingham crossbar.
Substitute Bennett picked the ball up midway in the Gillingham half with defenders standing off him, he was allowed to hit a powerful shot, cutting across the ball but the bend sent it wide past the upright.
The game really opened up with 20 minutes remaining, Tyson was allowed inside onto his stronger foot, hitting one from 20 yards out but into a wall of Gillingham defenders who threw their bodies in the way managing to block the shot.
Going into the last fifteen minutes Rovers had a three on three situations, Forrester in possession decided to go alone managing to beat Ehman and with a clear view of goal forced Nelson into a smart save low to the keepers left.
Both sides were thinking they could go on to win it and the game became very open, Norris on 85 minutes wasted a glorious chance for the home team dragging his shot across goal, Bywater was delighted to see it trickle past the post.
Shortly after the fourth official signalled for 2 minutes added time Marquis found himself with space to shoot inside the 18 yard. The goalscorer wasn’t as clinical this time as he wrapped his foot around the ball but saw it curl over the bar.
The resulting goal kick allowed the referee to blow for full time. The spoils shared in the South East, traveling back to South Yorkshire with a point.
Full Time – Gillingham 1 - 1 Rovers
Rovers: Bywater, Wabara, McCullough, Butler, Stevens, Coppinger© (Forrester), Furman, Razak (Bennett), Wellens, Tyson (Robinson), Main.
Subs not used – Marosi, McCombe, Ikpeazu, Middleton.
Gillingham: Nelson, Martin, Egan, Ehmer, Loft©, Hessenthaler, Marquis, McDonald (Norris), Pritchard (Morris), Dack (McGlashan), Hoyte
Subs not used – Legge, Galbraith, Morris, Dickenson.
Cautions – Martin (65), Norris (82)
Attendance – 5909 (370 Away)