Gills defend resolutely to achieve a point against champions elect Bristol City

Gillingham put in a fine defensive display to earn a point against league leaders Bristol City at Ashton Gate on Saturday in a 0-0 draw.

Bradley Dack had a goal ruled out for offside late on, with Stuart Nelson denying Joe Bryan and substitute Jay Emmanuel-Thomas to preserve a clean sheet.

The hosts had the better of the chances but the Gills defence stood firm and extended their unbeaten run away from home to six matches.

Manager Justin Edinburgh made two changes to the team that drew against Doncaster, both of which in midfield.

New signing Oliver Muldoon went straight into the first XI with Aaron Morris also included at the expense of Josh Pritchard who continues to recover from a hamstring injury.

Jake Hessenthaler was left out due to a bout of tonsillitis.

Brennan Dickenson, Luke Norris and Jermaine McGlashan provided forward options from the bench.

City plumped for Aaron Wilbraham and Kieran Agard up front with former Gills midfielder Luke Freeman starting in midfield.

Gillingham started quickly and were certainly not intimidated by the runaway league leaders, however few chances were created.

Bradley Dack’s shot from a tight angle courtesy of a Doug Loft corner was put wide before a header from Wilbraham was cleared by Egan.

Bryan put a header over the bar shortly before the quarter hour mark before a cross from Gavin Hoyte struck the right leg of Marquis before rolling kindly for Frank Fielding.

With a defender just in front of him the on loan forward was unable to react in time and the keeper was thankful that another Gills player was not on hand to take advantage.

Towards the end of the half Bryan tried his luck from just outside the box but launched his effort well off target before Loft’s 20-yard shot was skewed wide of the left hand post.

H/T: 0-0

City created the best chance of the game to date on 52 minutes – a cross by Marlon Pack picked out Wilbraham who was standing on the penalty spot, he was unmarked but guided his header beyond the far post by a matter of inches.

What followed was a succession of crosses and set pieces for the hosts which Gillingham did well to thwart, however on 62 minutes the hosts should have gone in front.

Freeman picked out Luke Ayling who was unmarked at the far post, he steadied himself but put his shot over as Nelson came out to reduce the gap.

McGlashan came on in place of Muldoon and his introduction appeared to make a difference as Gills gained some immediate territory.

However a potent final ball seemed to evade the visitors and another change was soon made with Luke Norris replacing John Marquis up front.

With seven minutes to play Gillingham thought they had scored when a shot from Norris was touched in by Dack.

The midfielder did well to divert the ball home as he anticipated an effort from the striker, but the offside flag was immediately raised to cut short the celebrations.

With the clock ticking down Emmanuel-Thomas nearly pinched victory late on but his low drive was well saved by Nelson.

F/T: 0-0

Bristol City: Fielding, Little, Williams (Cunningham 30), Flint, K Smith, Freeman, Wilbraham, Agard (Emmanuel-Thomas 74), Pack, Ayling, Bryan (Tavernier 75).
Unused subs: Richards, Elliott, Wagstaff, Saville.

Gills: Nelson, Hoyte, Egan, Ehmer, Martin, A Morris, Muldoon (McGlashan 67), Dack, Loft, McDonald, Marquis (Norris 77).
Unused subs: G Morris, Romeo, Legge, Galbraith, Dickenson

Attendance: 11601 (325 Gills)

Referee: Mr D Webb