Gillingham secure a point at MEMS Priestfield Stadium following entertaining match against Crawley Town in Sky Bet League OneLeon Legge’s first half headed equalizer ensured Gills claimed a point in a 1-1 draw with Crawley Town at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The centre-back pounced from a Jake Hessenthaler corner on 44 minutes following Gwoin Edwards’ opener just before the half an hour mark.
Gillingham controlled proceedings in the second half but were unable to find a winner, despite Bradley Dack hitting the bar, Legge thwarted from close range and McDonald having his late effort saved by Jamie Ashdown.
Peter Taylor made just one change to the side that lost against Preston midweek – Michael Doughty made his debut in midfield replacing Josh Pritchard after joining the club on a one month loan deal from Queens Park Rangers on Friday morning.
Stuart Nelson retained his place in goal with Danny Kedwell captaining the side up front with Cody McDonald for company.
Crawley included Gavin Tomlin within their match squad, the striker having spent time on loan at Priestfield during the 2011/12 season.
The game started quietly with neither side bossing proceedings in the opening minutes; however on 10 minutes Gillingham had an opportunity to take the lead courtesy of a Jake Hessenthaler corner.
Centre-back John Egan got up well to make the header but it was straight at Jamie Ashdown who made a comfortable stop.
Crawley had a couple of half chances with Matt Harrold and Conor Henderson’s efforts missing the target before the hosts created the best chance of the game.
McGlashan burst down the right wing and got round his marker before delivering a decent ball into the box, it was just too long for Kedwell but Brennan Dickenson was on hand to retrieve.
His first shot was blocked before he put his second just over the crossbar.
That missed chance proved costly as the visitors took the lead on 29 minutes. Keith Keane threading a decent ball through for Edwards, he looked up and despite his shot gaining a touch from Nelson in goal it wasn’t enough to prevent the opening goal.
Gills immediately went in search of an equalizer, Egan having a shot from 20 yards which went over the bar before Harrold struck the post from close range for the visitors.
Crawley had half chances to try and extend their lead, but just before the break Peter Taylor’s men finally found a breakthrough.
A corner from Hessenthaler was aimed at the near post and Legge was thundering in with a cracking header which gave Ashdown no chance in goal.
The Gills faithful turned up the volume as the hosts drew level, with no further chances created before the interval.
Gills made a change at the break with McGlashan replaced by Bradley Dack, but it was the hosts who had the first effort of the second half with a close range shot missing the target by a few yards before Dack slipped when attempting to deliver a cross from the left hand side of the penalty area.
However the substitute continued to cause problems and on the hour mark nearly put the hosts ahead. He received the ball from Doughty and drove forward into space – instead of play in Hoyte he chose to shoot and his effort smacked the top of the bar and out for a goal kick.
On 75 minutes the hosts thought they had taken the lead. McDonald refused to give up on a ball near the byline, he managed to retrieve possession brilliantly and produced a low ball for Legge who only just missed out on his second of the game when a recovering defender got his body in the way and cleared well.
Josh Simpson had a deflected effort well stopped by Nelson before a Joe Martin free kick cleared the upright.
Gillingham threw the kitchen sink at Crawley in the closing moments, but Ashdown gathered efforts from both sub Luke Norris and McDonald before the referee called time on an entertaining fixture.
Gills: Nelson, Hoyte, Egan, Legge, Martin, McGlashan (Dack 46), Hessenthaler, Doughty (Norris 78), Dickenson, McDonald, Kedwell (Pritchard 73).
Unused subs: Bywater, Hare, Fish, German.
Crawley: Ashdown, Oyebajo, Henderson (Smith 71), Leacock, Edwards, Simpson, Walsh, Young (Bawling 67), Keane, Harrold (McLeod 85), Sadler.
Unused subs: Jensen, Bradley, Banya, Tomlin.
Referee: Mr C Kavanagh