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17:07 27th March 2010

Andy Barcham nets against the MK Dons


Gillingham's ten men showed great resilience to battle back for a point against promotion chasing MK Dons.

Keeping faith with the side that performed so strongly at Charlton last weekend, Mark Stimson's men set out to take the game to Paul Ince's Dons direct from the kick-off.

The home side should have had the lead in the sixth minute of the first half, excellent hold-up play by Rene Howe allowed Barcham to run at the Dons defence but Curtis Weston could only slice his finish wide of the far post.

That miss came home to haunt the Gills as MK stole the advantage against the run of play in the 18th minute. A Dennehy foul gave the visitors a free-kick on the edge of the box, it was partially cleared but headed back into the danger zone by

Chadwick and centre-half McCracken poked home after his initial effort struck the upright.

That leaded lasted two minutes as Gillingham levelled straight from a free-kick after a handball deep in the Dons half. Weston took a touch and laid-off to Adam Miller who blasted a low drive into the bottom left corner.

On 27 minutes the visitors were almost gifted a second as Dennehy's touch allowed Wilbraham in behind the home defence, he cut back for Chadwick to shoot but Julian stood up well to block his close range drive and gather the loose ball at the second attempt.

Dennis Oli was controversially booked in the 33rd minute for a dive in the box after James Tunnicliffe appeared to trip him in the box. He followed John Nutter into the book after the full-back mistimed an earlier challenge.

Julian made an important save seven minutes from the interval, leaping to claw out Wilbraham's downward header as it threatened to bounce up under the crossbar.

In the 41st minute Rene Howe ran behind the Dons defence and cut-back across goal but Dennis Oli arrived too late to apply the finish. It would prove to be the forward's last contribution as he was sent-off seconds later for a clumsy late tackle on Lewington.

The Dons regained the lead deep into injury time as Dennehy's headed clearance ricocheted off Richards and fell to Jermaine Easter who hooked a simple finish into the far corner.


The game could have been over as a contest just 90 seconds after the restart as Easter sprung the offside trap and chipped the oncoming Julian, only to see his finish come back off the cross bar before Dennehy cleared upfield.

In the 52nd minute Julian got down well to gather Lewis Gobern's low effort from the edge of the box as the visitors probed and pushed for a chance to press home their advantage.

After soaking up 20 minutes of pressure, Gillingham struck back against the run of play in the 65th minute. Andy Barcham raced onto a deep ball, turned Sean O'Hanlon and buried a low shot into the back of the net to take the roof off Priestfield.

On 77 minutes Darren Dennehy was the Gills hero with a stunning block to divert Easter's close range lash over the cross bar. Then five minutes later referee Crossley rejected another penalty shout for the home side, booking Rene Howe for diving too.

In injury time tempers flared after a foul on Danny Jackman, Stephen Gleeson was booked but the referee ignored Jermaine Easter who clearly kicked Jackman while he was prone on the pitch.

The draw extends the Gills unbeaten run to four games and moves them up to 17th in League One

Attendance: 5465 (259 visitors)

Gillingham:Alan Julian, Stuart Lewis, Garry Richards, Darren Dennehy, John Nutter, Adam Miller, Curtis Weston (Chris Dickson 81), Danny Jackman, Andy Barcham, Rene Howe, Dennis Oli.

Subs not used: Simon Royce, Kevin Maher, Mark Bentley, Chris Palmer, Jack Payne, James Walker

MK Dons:Willy Gueret, Mathias Doumbe (Mark Randall 80), David McCracken, James Tunnicliffe (Sean O'Hanlon 46), Dean Lewington, Lewis Gobern (Danny Woodards 64), Peter Leven, Stephen Gleeson, Luke Chadwick, Jermaine Easter, Aaron Wilbraham.

Subs not used: Sol Davis, Luke Howell, Mark Carrington, Stuart Searle.


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.