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17:20 8th October 2011

Danny Kedwell salutes the Gills supporters


How apt was it that on the day that former penalty king Dave Peach was a special guest at the club, it was from a spot-kick that Gillingham were able to take a point.

Danny Kedwell's fifth goal of the season, from a re-taken 63rd minute penalty, earned the Gills a point against a physically big Port Vale outfit who'd taken a 33rd minute lead, slightly against the run of play. That said they fully deserved their point at the final whistle.

There were five changes to the Gills starting line-up from Tuesday's Johnstone Paints Trophy defeat against Barnet with Ross Flitney, Matt Lawrence, Joe Martin, Charlie Lee and Curtis Weston coming in for Paulo Gazzaniga, Andy Frampton, Danny Jackman, Chris Whelpdale and Stefan Payne.

Vale keeper Stuart Tomlinson had a lucky let off in the second minute when he dallied for too long on a backpass allowing Danny Kedwell to close him down. The clearance hitting the Gills striker and, luckily for the keeper, bounced wide.

There weren't too many chances in the opening quarter of an hour, Lee's attempted chip being taken by the back-pedalling keeper, but the pace and power of both Kedwell and Frank Nouble, plus the overlapping of Matt Fish, were causing the Vale rearguard problems.

Jo Kuffour fired wide then a well-worked free-kick routine involving Weston, Martin and Rooney ended with the latters shot being deflected wide.

Up to the 26th minute the visitors only had a Ben Williamson blocked shot and a low Doug Loft effort which was easily grabbed by Flitney to show for their endeavour but then they almost stole a lead. Loft's deep cross was headed back across by Adam Yates and Tom Pope sent a powerful header against the bar.

Then in the 33rd minute the visitors went ahead. Liam Chilvers played a short free-kick to Clayton McDonald who launched the ball forward, Pope knocked the ball across goal allowing Marc Richards to stab home from close range.

In response the Gills, through the ever-industrious Rooney, and Nouble both went close with efforts without making Tomlinson work.

Just before the break Chilvers picked up the first booking of the afternoon for upending the marauding Kuffour.

H/T: 0 - 0

The Burslem outfit put the Gills on the backfoot at the start of the second-half and Loft saw a fierce strike deflected for a corner.

Ten minutes into the second-half the Gills made their first change, Chris Whelpdale replaced his former Posh team-mate Lee.

The Gills were handed a glorious chance to equalise in the 61st minute when Nouble was caught by a rash challenge from Robert Taylor.

Referee Simon Hooper had little hesitation in pointing to the spot but Kedwell saw his first attempt from the spot turned aside by Tomlinson but the eagle-eyed assistant flagged for the keeper moving.

The Gills striker kept his nerve and stroked the re-take home low and fairly centrally with the Vale keeper going the the same way as previously.

Vale had looked as if they'd be happy to return to the Potteries with a point but then in the 74th minute a decent Pope strike from the edge of the area forced Flitney into a low save.

With just under 15 minutes remaing Stefan Payne replaced Kuffour.

In the 82nd minute Rooney picked up a booking for a hefty challenge on Griffith before the youngster, who'd looked like he was struggling, was replaced by Dennis Oli two minutes later.

Four minutes from time Fish almost caught Tomlinson out with an angled, near post strike but the keeper helped the ball over before Richards struck a low effort straight at the Vale number 12 in goal.

The final whistle (and of course results elsewhere around the country) saw the Gills lie tenth in the League Two table.

Gillingham: Flitney, Fish, G Richards, Lawrence, J Martin, Kuffour (S Payne 76), Lee (Whelpdale 55), Weston, Rooney (Oli 84), Nouble, Kedwell.

Unused subs: , Davies, Gazzaniga

Port Vale: Tomlinson, Yates, Taylor, Griffith, Owen, Loft (Dodds 87), M Richards, Pope (Rigg 82), Williamson (Morsy 58), McDonald, Chilvers.

Unused subs: C Martin, McCombe

Attendance: 4676 (201 Vale fans)

: Simon Hooper
Assistants: Carl Brook and Stephen Rubery
Fourth Official: Stuart Butler


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