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18:15 19th February 2011

Bayo Akinfenwa in action against Bury


The Gills let two points slip against one of their fellow promotion chasing rivals on a wet and miserable afternoon at Priestfield Stadium.

Andy Hessenthaler's side had the better of the first-half but opponents Bury definately took the honours after the break.

However, had Gills leading goalscorer Cody McDonald taken one of the two gilt-edged chances that fell his way in the closing stages, then Gillingham would have been looking down from fifth in the League Two table, instead of up from seventh.

The Shakers had obviously identified Adebayo Akinfenwa as one of the Gills major threats and kept the striker well shackled, every time the ball got to him he was crowded out. It wouldn't have surprised me if, when the Gills management team did the half-time team talk, Bayo still had two defenders sitting either side of him!

There was, as expected, one change to the Gillingham line-up with Matt Lawrence replacing Simon King in central defence, King, of course, was forced to limp off with a hamstring problem at Crewe last weekend.

After a couple of early chances at either end, Alan Knill's side had a glorious chance to open the scoring in the ninth minute, a Tom Lees free-kick found its way to Michael Jones wide on the right and his low centre was scooped over the bar by the unmarked Lenell John-Lewis from around ten yards.

The Gills first opening saw Curtis Weston played through, to the right of goal, but he dragged his shot across the face of goal.

Damien Mozika was the first recipient of a yellow card from referee Keith Stroud in the 17th minute for a foul on Weston.

Right-back Phil Picken tried his luck with a low, long-range effort which forced Alan Julian to save down to his right.

The Gills went close in the 20th minute following another Mozika foul. Danny Jackman, who was on the wrong end of the tackle, curled the resultant free-kick narrowly wide.

Gillingham deservedly went ahead in the 25th minute when Jackman played a ball up the left to Weston, he cut inside past the outstretched legs of Efe Sodje, Picken and Lees before drilling a low, right-foot shot beyond Cameron Belford from just outside the area. It was his second goal in two games and a third for the season.

Moments later it could have been two, but having done the hard work, shrugging off Lees, McDonald fired wide of both the Bury keeper and the far post.

A battling Jack Payne then battled for possession in midfield before letting Kevin Maher take over, when the ball forward came it was Payne that saw his first shot blocked by team-mate McDonald and his second attempt was headed clear by former Gills defender Efe Sodje.

Gills skipper Barry Fuller was booked in the 44th minute following a challenge on Worrall. From the free-kick, Schumacher whipped the ball towards the near post where Julian was happy to turn the ball round.

H/T: 1 - 0

Bury looked busy after the break and kept pushing the Gills, who began to look a touch nervy although possibly not helped by the moans and groans from the home crowd, further and further back.

Chances were few and far between to begin with though, a low shot from Worrall did force Julian to smother in the 56th minute.

Three minutes later John-Lewis had the ball in the net but the Bury cheers quickly died down when they spotted a linesman's flag. The Bury striker
then put a header straight at the Gills keeper.

Lawrence became the second Gills player to be booked in the 61st minute for a tackle on Schumacher.

League Two's joint leading scorer Ryan Lowe had a relatively quiet first 64 minutes but his first opening saw a header straight at Julian.

Bury introduced Andy Haworth for Worrall in the 65th minute and two minutes later Andy Barcham replaced Jackman.

Almost straight away the Gills winger had a run at the visitors back-line but his low shot was straight at Belford.

Julian took a knock when saving bravely at the feet of Lowe and required treatment from physio Steve Allen.

The Bury equaliser came in the 72nd minute, John-Lewis fed the ball wide to Lowe, who looked offside, but continued goalwards, cutting in from the left. His low shot from an angle took a deflection off Julian and could have been heading wide, if you saw the gesticulations of the Gills keeper, but John Nutter's attempted clearance unfortunately went in via the bar.

The 146 Shakers fans, who were saved a soaking having been moved under the cover of the Gordon Road stand, were ecstatic.

With fifteen minutes remaining the Gills made a second change, Dennis Oli replacing goalscorer Weston.

Garry Richards became the fourth Gillingham booking in the 78th minute for a foul on Haworth just outside the area, Lowe's free-kick struck the wall.

As the minutes ticked by though the visitors looked as if they would settle for a point and were nearly made to pay.

With a minute of normal time remaining a Payne long throw was cleared as far as Maher. He clipped the ball back in to the unmarked McDonald, who for once, lacked a bit of composure and volleyed inches over the bar.

Then with two of the four minutes of additional time gone, a huge punt up-field was flicked on twice and fell invitingly for the Norwich loanee but this time his low shot from the edge of the area was flopped on by a thankful Belford.

Moments later the final whistle blew and the promotion six-pointer had ended with just one point apiece.....

Attendance: 5021 (146 Bury)

Gillingham: Julian, Fuller, Richards, Lawrence, Nutter, Weston (Oli 75), Payne, Maher, Jackman (Barcham 67), McDonald, Akinfenwa Unused subs: Cronin, Sinclair, Bentley, Rooney, , White.

Bury: Belford, Picken, Skarz, Lees, Sodje, Mozika, M.Jones, Schumacher, Lowe, Worrall (Haworth 65), John-Lewis (Sweeney 87). Unused subs: Branagan, A.Jones, McCarthy, Bennett, Harrop

Referee: Keith Stroud
Assistants: Gavin Muge & Matt Stewart
Fourth Official: Barry Holderness


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