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14:39 22nd February 2012

Paulo Gazzaniga


Gillingham claimed a welcome point on Tuesday night after drawing 0-0 with Rotherham at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium.

Gavin Tomlin came closest to scoring for the hosts, but despite a valiant and committed effort the Gills were unable to find a way through, and as a result remain 13th in the league table.

Jack Evans was named man of the match for his display at full-back, although Tomlin too once again showed his credentials up front, while centre-backs Connor Essam and Simon King were also superb at the back.

The result however leaves Gillingham without a win in their last seven and are now eight points shy of the final play-off position.

After describing the performance against Port Vale on Saturday as 'absolutely outstanding', it was no real surprise that Andy Hessenthaler named an unchanged line-up for the visit of Rotherham.

Only one alteration was made among the substitutes - Daren Hawkes replacing Ashley Miller.

Rotherham boss Andy Scott made two changes - Lewis Grabban and Michael Raynes replacing Kieran Cadogan and Richard Naylor following their 1-1 draw at Burton Albion.

With both sides hoping to achieve a play-off position come the end of the season this fixture took on extra significance, and the Gills knew that a win would propel them above their opponents in the league table.

The opening exchanges were fairly even - Alex Revell having a shot blocked before Tomlin's surging run through the Rotherham defence came to a premature halt at the other end.

The striker was proving difficult to handle and he seemed the most likely to break the deadlock if the Gills could present a clear cut opportunity.

It was Jo Kuffour however who should have given the hosts the lead in the 15th minute - Johnny Mullins attempted to head back to keeper Rhys Taylor only to find Kuffour sneaking in behind him, and despite striking cleanly he put his effort just wide of the right hand post when the vast majority of the crowd believed it to be in.

Three minutes later and it was Curtis Weston who was next to go close.

A fantastic long ball from Evans found Tomlin in behind the Millers defence - his strike was blocked and Weston had time with the goal at his mercy, but his right foot effort was tame to say the least and it went well wide with Taylor struggling to recover his ground.

On 31 minutes the aforementioned Evans was very nearly celebrating his first goal for the club when he attempted a strike all of 30 yards. The ball presented itself perfectly in front of the full back and he let fly with an ambitious effort which went just a yard or so over the bar.

Two minutes later and Tomlin thought he had finally broken the deadlock following a Danny Jackman free-kick.

The striker met the ball well and looked destined for the back of the net, but Taylor produced an astonishing save to deny the front man - the linesman though had already flagged for offside.

On 37 minutes Lewis Grabban bundled the ball home after the Gills defence struggled to clear, but as quickly as he could start celebrating the referee blew his whistle and produced a yellow card for handball.

Tomlin was at it again just moments later when his right foot strike had Taylor at full stretch to his left-hand side. However he needn't have worried as the ball sailed wide once more.

Both sides exerted pressure late on, but neither goalkeeper was called into action.

H/T: 0-0

The Gills began the half in dominant fashion, winning corner after corner which asked several questions of the Rotherham defence.

The visitors stood firm however and refused to crumble under the pressure as the forward line proved relentless in their search for the opening goal of the evening.

Andy Scott's side weathered the storm and started gaining a foothold on the game as they forced several set pieces themselves, but Essam and King were having a solid game and refused to give up their clean sheet easily as the hour mark came and went in a flash.

Ollie Lee came on to make his debut in the 73rd minute in place of Weston, and as the time ticked away it became imperative that any chances made would have to be converted in order to claim victory.

The latter stages proved to be a midfield battle as both sides looked to dominate proceedings, but neither could gain control of the ball on a consistent basis.

With just minutes left both sides were still pushing forward in search of what would be an almost certain winner - manager Hessenthaler urging his side to give everything in the closing seconds.

A late corner taken by Jackman was met by Chris Whelpdale, but he couldn't quite divert goalwards and this proved to be the final action of the evening.

F/T: 0-0

Gills: Gazzaniga, Evans, Essam, King, Jackman, Weston (O Lee 73), Payne, Whelpdale, Tomlin, Kuffour, Kedwell.

Subs: Hawkes, Montrose, Richards, Martin.

Rotherham: R Taylor, Harrison, J Taylor, Revell, Harrad (Warne 57), Bradley, Mullins, Grabban, Raynes, Griffiths, Wood.

Subs: Warrington, Tonge, Cresswell, Pringle.

Referee: A Woolmer

Attendance: 3248 (57 Rotherham)

Bookings: Mullins (33), Grabban (37)


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