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REPORT | Rovers 0 Gillingham 1

12 March 2022

Rovers suffered a frustrating defeat to fellow strugglers Gillingham in Sky Bet League One.

A Charlie Kelman header proved enough for the Gills to claim the win in the crunch clash.

Gary McSheffrey made four changes from the side that started at Cheltenham Town the previous week with Ro-Shaun Williams, Charlie Seaman, Joe Dodoo and Ethan Galbraith coming into the team.

Rovers got off to the worst possible start as they fell behind within a minute.

A long throw into the box was not dealt with and Charlie Kelman headed home from close range at the back post.

Josh Martin saw a shot from the edge of the box blocked as Rovers looked to work their wayback level.

Jonathan Mitchell needed to act on 20 minutes when Vadaine Oliver got on the end of another long throw and nodded on goal.

And the Rovers keeper showed strong hands to bat away a drive from Ryan Jackson.

Gillingham appeared happy to allow Rovers to have the majority of the ball and attempt to break them down.

Matt Smith entered the fray for Rovers midway through the half in place of Ben Jackson, who was hurt in the melee for Gillingham’s goal.

And the midfielder regularly found space as Rovers began to build more attacks.

Smith opted to shoot from 30 yards but saw his effort fly comfortably wide.

The last act of the opening period saw Martin’s shot deflect wide.

It was a positive start to the second half for Rovers who looked much more threatening.

Kyle Knoyle saw a low drive deflect wide for a corner before Seaman cut the ball onto his left foot and fired straight at former Rovers loanee Pontus Dahlberg.

Rowe forced a decent reaction stop from the Swedish goalkeeper after being played in by Martin, with the Rovers skipper drilling a powerful effort.

Ethan Galbraith fired wide with a shot from distance before Martin drew a steady stop from Dahlberg with a low drive.

Rowe was inches away from an equaliser after firing blind across the face of goal as the game entered the final ten minutes.

Martin jinked his way to the corner of the box and curled a superb effort for the far post, which Dahlberg pushed away well with David Tutonda almost deflecting the ball into his own goal.

Rovers: Mitchell, Knoyle, Williams, Olowu, Seaman (Hiwula 76), Galbraith, Rowe, Jackson (Smith 27), Martin, Odubeko, Dodoo (Barlow 76). Subs not used: Jones, Bostock, Gardner, Agard.

Gillingham: Dahlberg, Jackson (Tutonda 41), Tucker, Ehmer, Masterson, Thompson, Lee, O’Keefe, McKenzie, Oliver, Kelman (Chambers 71). Subs not used: Chapman, Dickson-Peters, Lintott, Maghoma.

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

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