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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:59 10th September 2011

Luke Rooney takes on the Bulls defence

GILLINGHAM 1-1 ACCRINGTON REPORT

The Gills dropped to eighth in the League Two table after letting slip two more points at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.

Andy Hessenthaler's side could easily have succumbed to defeat having gone behind in the 84th minute but were able to hit back almost straight away when Luke Rooney, selected for a second game in succession for the first time in his relatively short career, fired home from the spot.

Accrington obviously didn't come to win friends with a game plan that seemed to be happy to make the long journey home with a point - something they achieved but were probably unhappy having taken the lead so late.

Following two defeats on the trot the Gillingham boss may have been ready to make changes but injuries to skipper Andy Frampton (groin) and Jack Payne(knee) made two necessary while Curtis Weston dropped to the bench to make it three.

Into the side came Garry Richards, Joe Martin and Chris Whelpdale with Matt Lawrence taking over the captains armband. Martin took the left-back role with Danny Jackman moving into midfield.

The Gills started off on the front foot and spent most of the early stages encamped in the Stanley half despite really looking threatening while at the other end Ross Flitney was little more than a spectator.

The best chance came as early as the third minute when Charlie Lee saw a fine strike from the edge of the area turned aside by Accrington keeper Sean Murdoch.

It wasn't until the 34th minute that another real chance came. Jackman curled in a corner from the right and Lee timed his run to arrive unmarked but his downward header was hacked clear by Dean Winnard.

I'm not quite sure why but before the ensuing corner could be taken Stanley's Kevin McIntyre was called over and booked by referee Darren Sheldrake.

Stanley finally found their feet and began to press the Gillingham rearguard. In the 38th minute it was McIntyre that had the visitors best effort so far, his low, angled left-foot shot was touched round his post by the alert Flitney.

Shortly after that Wes Fletcher, the on-loan Burnley striker, fired an effort up towards the 54 travelling 'Stanley Ultra's' on the Town End.

The only other moment of note after that before the interval was a booking for Jackman for a crunching tackle on Accrington skipper Andy Proctor.

H/T: 0 - 0

Both teams continued to huff and puff their way through the first ten minutes of the second-half, the only noteworthy thing being a booking for Lewis Montrose who fouled Craig Lindfield.

The Gills then opened up the Stanley defence down the right with Rooney sending Fuller away, he cut the ball back to Montrose who cracked a shot inches wide of the upright.

Almost immediately at the other end John Coleman's side won a corner, Lindfield knocked it in from the left and Winnard, despite finding himself all alone, headed straight at Flitney from six yards.

Rooney drilled a low shot across the face of goal and Montrose fired another effort wide when Jackman's corner eventually fell invitingly for him.

Accrington had introduced Louis Moult and Ian Craney during the latter stages and it was the pair that were both involved when the goals finally came.

Seven minutes remained on the clock when Stoke City loanee Moult was clean through on Flitney having been set up by his fellow substitute but he inexplicably wasted the chance by firing wide.

The Gills didn't heed the warning though and a minute later from an almost identical move the lively Craney slotted home.

It was enough to send a number of the discontented Gills faithful heading for the exits.

However I'm not sure how many had actually got out of the ground when Moult's reckless challenge on Danny Kedwell gave referee Sheldrake little choice but to point to the spot.

With Kedwell requiring treatment and looking on from the sideline it was Rooney who took over the penalty responsibilities and smacked home his spot-kick via the inside of Murdoch's left hand upright to earn a point.

Dennis Oli replaced Kedwell for the remaining few minutes but the Gills were unable to create any further openings, all they did get was a harsh booking for Rooney as he launched the ball momentarily after the whistle had gone for a free-kick to the visitors.

Attendance: 4619 (54 Accrington fans)
Gillingham: Flitney, Fuller, Lawrence, Richards, Martin, Montrose, Rooney, Jackman, Lee (S.Payne 66), Whelpdale (Spiller 79), Kedwell (Oli 88). Unused subs: Weston, Fish

Stanley: Murdoch, Winnard, Hessey, Proctor, Lindfield,Joyce, McIntyre, Murphy, Long, Fletcher (Craney 77), Amond (Moult 64). Unused subs: Guthrie, Bender, Dunbavin Match Officials:
Referee: Darren Sheldrake
Assistants: Jake Hillier and Nigel Lugg
Fourth Official: Darren Blunden

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