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17:00 6th April 2012

Dennis Oli 640


A 90th minute header from substitute Dennis Oli earned the Gills a deserved point to keep their play-off hopes alive in a topsy-turvy encounter at the Memorial Stadium.

The Gills may well look upon this as two points dropped after Danny Kedwell had failed from the penalty spot with the score 0-0 before Chris Whelpdale fired them ahead.

Then Mark McGhee's side hit back to lead before Oli got the equaliser.

Gillingham manager Andy Hessenthaler made one change to the side that had beaten Macclesfield Town last weekend with Rowan Vine coming in for his full debut at the expense of the injured Jo Kuffour.

After a quiet opening eight minutes, on a difficult surface, Mustapha Carayol had the first shot of the match but his swerving strike narrowly cleared the bar.

Just two minutes later a great move ended with Lewis Montrose playing a low ball across the face of goal which was unfortunately just an inch or two ahead of the onrushing Whelpdale.

Then a poor error at the back by Rovers gifted Kedwell the ball but with Vine in space, the Gills leading scorer blazed over.

In the 14th minute Joe Martin picked up a yellow card for a challenge on Danny Woodards. Former Gillingham goalkeeper Phil Kite, the Pirates physio, racing across the heavily-sanded surface with Steve Allen to treat the two players.

All of this came too soon for a number of Gillingham supporters, especially those on the official coach as heavy traffic en route, which had delayed our own arrival until shortly before kick-off, started coming in at around the 20 minute mark.

In the 25th minute the Gills were awarded a penalty on the say so of referee's assistant Nick Hobbs.

Vine got into the area and squared the ball to the unmarled Kedwell, he fired goalwards and Woodards threw his body in the way and the ball went out for what most people presumed was a corner.

However a few Gillingham players pointed referee Dean Whitestone towards the linesman and after a few words the official pointed to the spot.

Kedwell somewhat scuffed the penalty low to Scott Bevan's right and the towering keeper not only parried but reacted quickly to block Vine's follow-up.

A free-kick conceded by skipper Andy Frampton saw the home side go close in the 38th minute. Craig Stanley knocked the ball in and when it was half-cleared Carayol fired through a crowded area at Paulo Gazzaniga.

Then at the other end a low shot from Montrose was spilled by Bevan but he recovered the ball as Danny Jackman closed in.

H/T: 0 - 0

The first chance of the second-half came in the 50th minute when Matt Harrold held off Connor Essam before setting up Matthew Lund but his low shot was clutched by Gazzaniga.

With 55 minutes on the clock the Gills took the lead. A neat build up involving Martin, Kedwell, a neat back-heel and Jackman saw Whelpdale find the top left-hand corner of the flailing Bevan's net. It was the midfielders tenth goal of the season.

Unfortunately the Gills lead lasted just four minutes as substitute Matthew Gill dinked a ball to the far post where fellow sub Eliot Richards got up to head home despite a valiant attempt by Gazzaniga.

Matt Fish and Jack Payne went into the book for foul's before the home fans were screaming for a penalty from the Blackthorn End when Harrold went down under a challenge from Essam, referee Whitestone waved away all appeals.

Frampton failed to get a header on target in the 70th minute after a short corner from Jackman was knocked in by Montrose.

Danny Spiller replaced Montrose two minutes later and was quickly in the action, it looked as if he was pulled down by Lund as he attempted to get on the end of a low ball across goal.

The poor pitch more akin with New Zealand's All Blacks instead of Gills attired in all black, (Rovers share the ground with Bristol's rugby union side), was then to blame as both Jackman and Whelpdale shanked efforts.

With 11 minutes remaining the Gills made their second change, Ashley Miller for Vine.

Rovers went ahead somewhat out of the blue in the 80th minute when Carayol went through on goal and slotted the ball home from the edge of the area past a hesitant Gazzaniga.

The young Argentine then made a decent save to deny Carayol before the Gills levelled matters in the 90th minute from a huge Gazzaniga punt downfield.

Substitute Dennis Oli chased the bouncing ball forward and got their first, ahead of Bevan, to nod the ball over the stricken keeper and watched gleefully as it bounced into the empty net.

Moments later Fish almost won it but his header looked destined for the top corner before Bevan saved.

Rovers: Bevan, Woodards (Smith 54), Bolger, Parkes, Paterson (Gill 43), Carayol, Lund, Stanley, Sawyer (c), Harrold, Zebroski (Richards H/T)

Unused subs: Downes, Dorman

Gills: Gazzangia, Fish, Frampton (c), Essam, Martin, Jackman (Oli 86)Whelpdale, Payne, Montrose (Spiller 72), Kedwell, Vine (Miller 79).

Unused subs: Evans, Lee

Attendance: 6,160 (383 Gills)

Officials -

Referee - Dean Whitestone

Assistants - Nick Hobbis and John Farries

Fourth Official - John Busby


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