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Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 2 Gillingham 1

12 December 2020

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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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