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24 August 2013

Cody Mcdonald's late strike claims deserved point

Gillingham claimed a draw at the County Ground thanks to a late strike from substitute Cody McDonald.

Martin Allen kept faith with the same starting XI that performed so well against Brentford to earn the Gills first point of the season last weekend.

The visitors showed their intent direct from the kick-off as Danny Kedwell battled with Grant Hall for a ball over the top, the ref awarding a free-kick against the Gillingham centre-forward.

Play was held up in the fourth minute while Joe Martin received treatment, following a crunching challenge by Hall, before Stuart Nelson was called into action to stop a low drive from Ryan Harley.

Soon after Bayo Akinfenwa rolled a Kedwell flick-on inches wide of Foderingham’s right hand post but it was the hosts that opened the scoring on 12 minutes.

Alex Pritchard held up play, giving Nathan Thompson time to cross and Nathan Byrne was on hand to crash home the opener from close range.

The Gills took just six minutes to equalise with a moved carried straight from the training ground. Chris Whelpdale hurled one of his trademark throw-ins into the area and Danny Kedwell rose unmarked to nod beyond the keeper for 1-1.

Stuart Nelson pulled off an excellent save to deny Darren Ward from Pritchard’s 22nd minute corner and recovered quickly to claw away Nile Ranger’s follow-up effort moments later as the Swindon looked to regain their advantage.

Massimo Luongo went close for the Robins on 29 minutes with a fierce shot on the turn that fizzed wide of Nelson’s left hand post.

Then Byrne got beyond Adam Barrett in the box but his shot was charged down by the advancing Gills custodian.

Just two minutes later Gills were unlucky not to take the lead at the other end as Charlie’s Lee’s rasping free-kick was spilled by Foderingham, Kedwell was first to the loose ball but the Robins keeper regained his composure to block the striker’s finish.

Four minutes before the break Lee showed great vision to anticipate the run of Myles Weston, the Gills winger raced on to his ball over the defence, left a defender on his back side, but struck the side-netting from a tight angle.

On the stroke of half time the visitors almost stole the lead with a carbon copy of the move that lead to their first goal, this time it was Charlie Lee’s turn to sling a howitzer into the box, Akinfenwa got his head to it but Foderingham made the save.

H/T: 1-1

After a quiet opening to the second-half, in which neither side were able to fashion a clear cut opening, Swindon forced their way into the Gills area on 55 minutes, only for Steven Gregory to break up their attack with a superbly timed challenge in the box.

Gregs then collected the games first booking on the hour mark for a foul on Yaser Kasim, midway inside the Swindon half. While Bradley Dack was Gillingham’s first change, replacing Chris Whelpdale on 62 minutes.

Moments later the Robins created another good opening, Thompson with a cross from the right hand touchline, back-heeled goalwards by Pritchard but gathered safely on the line by Stuart Nelson.

At the opposite end the Gills were denied by a diving stop from Foderingham after Charlie Lee let fly with a stunning right foot effort to the top corner, then Bayo headed over after good work down the left by Weston and Dack.

Just as it seemed the Gills were taking the momentum, Swindon retook the lead on 69 minutes. Ryan Harley dropped a cross from the left into the area and Nathan Thompson popped up in the box to force it into the far corner.

The goal prompted Martin Allen’s second change of the afternoon, introducing the fresh legs of Cody McDonald in place of Bayo Akinfenwa.

He was followed soon after by Antonio German, who replaced Weston down the right.

Swindon could have extended their lead ten minutes from time as Harley broke clear on the counter attack before picking out Ryan Mason in acres of space, but the substitute rushed his finish and fired well over the crossbar.

Five minutes from time the Gills got the break they deserved as Cody McDonald raced onto a deep clearance from Leon Legge, made space to shoot and placed a low finish into the keeper’s bottom right corner to level the scores once more.

There was more late drama as Thompson burst into the box again and fired over at the near post but the Gills saw out four minutes of time added-on to claim another richly deserved point.

Attendance: 7,520 (Gillingham 452)

Gillingham: Stuart Nelson, Joe Martin, Leon Legge, Chris Whelpdale (Bradley Dack 62), Bayo Akinfenwa (Cody McDonald 72), Danny Kedwell, Myles Weston (Antonio German 75), Steven Gregory, Charlie Lee, Michael Harriman, Adam Barrett.

Subs not used: George Howard, Callum Davies, Charlie Allen, Harry Grant

Swindon Town: Wes Foderingham, Nathan Thompson, Nathan Byrne (Ryan Mason 66), Massimo Luongo, Grant Hall, Ryan Harley, Nile Ranger, Alex Pritchard, Jay McEveley, Yaser Kasim, Darren Ward.

Subs not used: Tyrell Belford, Louis Thompson, Miles Storey, Alex Smith, Jack Barthram, Troy Archibald-Henville.

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