Weather conditions play havoc as Gills slip to narrow defeat at Glanford Park

Gillingham’s final away game of the season ended in a 2-1 defeat to Scunthorpe in a dramatic afternoon at Glanford Park on Saturday.

Play was suspended on 26 minutes with Scunthorpe in front due to extreme weather conditions, having come from behind to seize the advantage.

Luke Norris had fired home within the first 90 seconds to stun the home crowd, however Hakeeb Abdelakun and Gary McSheffrey struck within 15 minutes of each other to reverse the momentum.

McSheffrey, who also scored at MEMS Priestfield Stadium earlier in the campaign, bagged a second for the hosts moments before the referee suspended play following a torrential downpour which prevented anyone from running with the ball.

The ground staff, along with some of the Gillingham subs, cleared some of the standing water with play resuming shortly before four o’clock but the visitors failed to force an equaliser.

Manager Justin Edinburgh made three changes to the team that beat Rochdale 1-0 at Priestfield last weekend with Jake Hessenthaler, Ollie Muldoon and Norris named in place of Aaron Morris, Bradley Dack and John Marquis.

The latter trio were all named among the substitutes, with Brennan Dickenson continuing at left wing back.

Josh Pritchard, Amari’I Bell and Gavin Hoyte were the other options from the bench, with Stuart Nelson providing cover for Glenn Morris between the sticks.

Gillingham stormed out of the traps and although Cody McDonald was denied in the first minute by keeper Luke Daniels, it didn’t take long for the visitors to grab the opening goal.

In the very next passage of play Norris spread the play wide to Dickenson, the winger chose to cross first time and McDonald cleverly chested the ball into the path of Norris who produced a stunning effort to beat Daniels into the corner.

And a second goal just a few minutes later was only denied when Andrew Boyce put in an excellent block to deny McDonald inside the penalty area.

With the Gills well on top and seemingly dominating proceedings, the Iron equalized against the run of play on 11 minutes.

Theo Robinson retrieved the ball inside the Gills half, Adelakun made a run and turned inside and out of the retreating Max Ehmer and found half a yard of space where he unleashed a shot beyond Morris and into the roof of the net.

The keeper got a touch to it but the power sent it thundering into the goal, and for the minutes that followed the game was an even contest.

However as the conditions took a turn for the worst, with many short passes being halted by standing water, Scunthorpe took a surprise lead – a ball through the centre cut open the Gills defence allowing McSheffrey to advance one on one.

He rounded Glenn Morris and tucked the ball away expertly to put the Gills behind after an excellent start.

That would prove to be the last meaningful action for the next 30 minutes with referee Andy Haines suspending play due to extreme weather conditions.

The ground staff, along with the Gillingham subs, did everything they could to clear the pitch and at 3.56 play resumed.

Morris had to look alert within the first couple of minutes, making an excellent save to deny an almost certain goal at the far post for Paddy Madden.

With the conditions still not perfect, half time quickly approached with no further action.

H/T: 2-1

Adelakun should have increased Scunthorpe’s lead on 50 minutes, he found himself one on one in space on the right hand side but his effort was narrowly wide of the near post with Morris doing well to narrow the gap.

Norris and Niall Canavan missed the target with respective efforts in a half which saw few chances created.

Set pieces appeared to be the best opportunity to increase the score line – John Lundstram struck over the bar with a long range effort 10 minutes from time, with Norris going even closer moments later when his powerful strike was tipped over by Daniels.

Madden attempted to put the game beyond all doubt in stoppage time but his low effort inside the box was well blocked.

F/T: 2-1

Scunthorpe: Daniels, Canavan, Adelakun, Lundstram, Robinson (Van Veen 67), Boyce, Williams, Clarke, McSheffrey (Syers 70), Madden, Bishop
Unused subs: Anyon, McAllister, Evans, Townsend, Llera

Gillingham: G Morris, Egan, Ehmer, Legge (Hoyte 70), McGlashan (Marquis 70), Dickenson, Loft, Hessenthaler, Muldoon (Dack 56), Norris, McDonald
Unused subs: Nelson, Bell, A Morris, Pritchard

Referee: Mr A Haines

Attendance: 3763 (348 Gills)