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Gillingham 0 Rovers 0

7 April 2018

Rovers reached the 50-point barrier after battling out a goalless draw at Gillingham.

It was a closely contested game between two attacking sides, with the visitors’ best opportunity falling in the final stages when Alfie May just could not control Rodney Kongolo’s delivery.

Ben Whiteman came back into the starting line-up, replacing Jordan Houghton who missed out after suffering a knock in training the day before.

Rovers started the game well, with their pressing causing problems for the home defence. The first opportunity came after eight minutes when Alfie Beestin pressured Tomas Holy and Gabriel Zakuani for the ball.

They lost sight of the ball which had fallen to John Marquis - the Rovers’ No.9 tried to loft the ball into the now unguarded net but, with the odds always against him due to an improbable angle, he could only lift it over the bar.

Rovers continued to push, with Tommy Rowe lifting a ball over Holy’s bar and Niall Mason firing an effort straight into the hands of a grateful Holy after a great move from right to left.

Ben Whiteman almost found himself in on goal after a great pass from Marquis, but with several home defenders in the way he was just squeezed out.

Two of the better chances of the half fell to Beestin as the game approached half-time.

The first was a counter between Beestin and Marquis - the latter’s run was used as a decoy by the former to find space for a shot, but his effort went just over.

And just before the break a great pass from Matty Blair on the right found Beestin at the near post. He tried a quick snapshot, which Holy did well to block away.

The home side made a double change at the break, bringing Tom Eaves and Franck Moussa off the bench in an attacking play.

Eaves in particular had an instant impact, winning a corner within seconds of the restart and causing problems with his size and direct running.

Conor Wilkinson headed over for the home side after 50 minutes as the home side came back into the game.

But Rovers had chances of their own. A corner from James Coppinger found Mathieu Baudry, but his effort was deflected away for a corner.

Rowe - buoyed by his match-winning double in the 2-1 win at Blackpool in the previous game - also had a low effort which went just wide of a post.

Ferguson made a number of changes as the match reached the closing stages. May came off the bench to replace Beestin after 73 minutes, with Kongolo then Andy Butler coming on as Rovers shuffled their pack.

That allowed the pace of May and Kongolo to cause problems, with Mason able to move to right-back to try and replicate the delivery which proved so effective against Bradford City two games prior.

May did have the ball in the back of the net after 84 minutes, but the referee had blown for a foul against the visitors long before he had lofted his effort past Holy.

And there was one final chance which fell to the Rovers sub after great work down the right. Kongolo’s low delivery found May in space at the far post, but he just could not control the ball and the chance had passed.

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