Gillingham FC extend their unbeaten home league run following a 0-0 draw against Walsall at MEMS Priestfield StadiumGillingham extended their unbeaten home league record to five games with a 0-0 draw against Walsall at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday.
Gills created the better openings and looked the side most likely to break the deadlock, but Walsall stood firm and ensured that the points where shared.
Manager Peter Taylor kept faith with the same side that secured a brilliant 2-1 victory against Peterborough midweek, with Luke Norris partnering Cody McDonald in attack.
Aaron Morris continued at right back with Gavin Hoyte the only new face in the squad, he replaced Leon Legge on the bench having served his three match ban following his sending off away at Stevenage in the JPT.
Walsall had more of the possession in the opening stages and nearly took the lead inside two minutes.
Anthony Forde cut inside on his right foot and whipped a decent cross to the far post – it took two deflections on the way and Stephen Bywater had to be alert to palm it wide for a corner.
The visitors applied a lot of pressure and had a couple of half chances to take the lead. Ashley Grimes testing the gloves of Bywater before thwarting a potential opportunity for Adam Chambers.
However Gills remained patient in their play and progressively began to boss proceedings. A header from a Jake Hessenthaler cross by Luke Norris was caught by keeper Richard O’Donnell prior to the stopper being on hand to smother the ball as McDonald looked to take advantage of a clever 1-2 with Bradley Dack.
On 18 minutes Walsall should have taken the lead when Forde controlled a long ball beautifully on the left wing, he delivered a teasing cross towards the edge of the six yard box and somehow Grimes skewed his effort wide of the target from just a few yards out.
Gillingham progressively began to ask more questions but came up against a stubborn Walsall back line who conceded four times against Rochdale during the week.
On 24 minutes the visitors resisted even more pressure when a low cross from McGlashan found its way to Kortney Hause, his shot was blocked at close range before the follow up from McDonald was similarly thwarted.
Four minutes later and Norris found himself one on one following some clever footwork; however O’Donnell was out quickly and did well to get behind the effort – the ball running clear with McDonald busting a gut to get to the rebound.
A low shot by Dack was comfortably stopped before some late first half pressure was well dealt with by the Gills defence.
The second half started comparatively quieter with neither side bossing possession, an early free kick for Walsall was routinely cleared and it took Gills until the 55 minute mark to create their first opening.
McDonald burst into the penalty area on the right side and from an acute angle produced a decent shot which beat O’Donnell, and although it cleared the far post Norris very nearly did enough to fire the ball home.
He fell just short of making contact and launched into the advertising boards, he suffered a slight knock which may have contributed to the decision to substitute him shortly afterwards.
From the corner that followed, Hessenthaler drilled a brilliant delivery towards the penalty spot and John Egan, who was voted `Man of the Match` fired his header just wide of the target with O’Donnell stranded.
On 62 minutes Forde found himself in space on the left side of the box and tried his luck with a curling effort towards the far post. Bywater wasn’t required as the shot was high and wide.
However the visitors maybe should have tested the Gills keeper with 10 minutes to play when James Baxendale had a free header on goal inside the box. The jump of Hause may have put him off and the header was off target.
Long range efforts by Forde and Martin respectively failed to trouble the net, and the final whistle sounded in a game which Manager Peter Taylor described as `a fair result.`
Gillingham: Bywater, A Morris, Egan, Hause, Martin, Dack (Dickenson 64), McGlashan, Hessenthaler (Linganzi 88), Loft, Norris (German 72), McDonald
Unused subs: G Morris, Hoyte, Pritchard, Davies
Walsall: O’Donnell, Taylor (Benning 56), O’Connor, Downing, Chambers, Sawyers (Manset 70), Baxendale, Flanagan, Grimes (Bakayoko 86), Forde, Butler
Unused subs: Holden, MacGillivray, Kinsella, Clifford
Attendance: 5344 (130 Walsall)
Referee: Mr J Adcock