Gillingham 2-2 Fleetwood Town
The Gills battled back from two goals down to claim another important point against a spirited Fleetwood side
Following last weekend’s epic 2-1 triumph at Rotherham, Martin Allen opted to retain the same starting XI, meaning a welcome return to the line-up for attacking midfielder Romain Vincelot who had been hospitalised following a collision with Jason Taylor at the New York Stadium.
Chances were at a premium in the opening minutes of the match, the visitors’ first opening saw Alex Marrow head Jamie Milligan’s cross wide of Nelson’s far post. While, at the opposite end, Charlie Lee saw a 10th minute penalty appeal turned down before Adam Barrett headed into the keeper’s hands as Fleetwood struggled to clear a Gills corner.
In a keenly contested first half, it was the visitors that took a surprise lead in the 20th minute after Steven Gillespie’s blocked shot fell kindly for David Ball, he sent a low cross come shot to Nelson’s left hand post where Junior Brown was lurking to force the ball home from close range.
Five minutes later Steven Gillespie earned the game’s first booking in bizarre fashion for a challenge on Stuart Nelson. The Gills custodian had stopped to collect an overhit through ball when Gillespie’s momentum saw him collide with the keeper, leap on his back and wrestle him to the ground.
Just two minutes later Fleetwood netted their second of the game in ruthless fashion. Barry Nicholson whipped a corner into the six yard box and Alan Goodall climbed highest to crash a header into the back of the net.
On 36 minutes Romain Vincelot dragged a low shot wide of Davies left hand upright after good work by Deon Burton. Moments later Charlie Lee earned a yellow card for an overzealous challenge on Marrow.
Just four minutes from the interval Charlie Lee got Priestfield’s largest crowd of the season so far on its feet with a clinical finish to bring the Gills back into the game. Danny Kedwell flicked Charlie Allen’s corner across goal and Lee was on hand at the far post to stab the ball home.
The home side picked up their second booking of the game a minute before the break, Charlie Allen seeing yellow after an aerial challenge on Marrow. Vincelot came close to levelling the scores in the second minute of first half injury time but his powerful half volley was hit full into the face of Alan Goodall.
Martin Allen opted to make a change to his side at the break, introducing Myles Weston for Deon Burton. The switch almost paid off within
minutes as Weston’s low cross from the left found Kedwell at the near post but his shot on the turn was hacked clear by a Fleetwood boot.
On 52 minutes Charlie Allen flashed a wicked corner across the face of goal, Vincelot strained every sinew to reach it but sadly could not make the crucial connection. The same pair combined once more in the 59th minute, Romain this time heading just wide from Allen’s right wing delivery.
By now Gills were bossing the game and were desperately unlucky, once again, not to score as Danny Kedwell tried his luck from 25 yards only to see his low drive roll agonisingly wide of the Davies right hand upright.
The equaliser the Gills had been threatening finally came in the 65th minute from Charlie Lee’s throw on, Romain Vincelot nodded it towards goal and Myles Weston was well placed to crash home the finish for 2-2.
Gills continued to pour forward in search of the winner, whilst Fleetwood remained camped in their own half, desperate to preserve a point.
Then, against the balance of play, Junior Brown slotted home for the second time on 85 minutes, fortunately his effort was chalked off for offside.
With three minutes left on the clock the manager brought on Lewis Montrose to cancel out the visitors late momentum. Then introduced Ben Strevens for the three minutes of time added on to help nick the points but Fleetwood defended resolutely to take home their point.
Attendance: 8,571 (63 Fleetwood)
Stuart Nelson, Matt Fish, Joe Martin, Andy Frampton, Adam Barrett, Jack Payne, Charlie Allen (Ben Strevens 90+1), Charlie Lee (Lewis Montrose 87), Romain Vincelot, Danny Kedwell, Deon Burton (Myles Weston H/T)
Subs not used: Tommy Forecast, Callum Davies, Danny Jackman, Adam Birchall
Fleetwood Town: Scott Davies, Shaun Beeley, Dean Howell, Jamie Milligan (Damien Johnson 64), Barry Nicholson, Junior Brown, Alan Goodall, Steven Gillespie (Jamie McGuire 75), Rob Atkinson, David Ball (Alex Titchener 88), Alex Marrow
Subs not used: Steve McNulty, Chris Maxwell, Tom Barkhuizen, Curtis Obeng
Fourth Official: John Magill
Assistants: Wade Norcott & John O’Brien
Referee: Craig Pawson