Points shared at Priestfield as Gills earn a 1-1 draw against playoff chasing Doncaster Rovers

Gillingham remain four points off the playoffs in Sky Bet League One following a 1-1 draw against Doncaster Rovers at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Harry Forrester scored direct from a free kick five minutes before the interval, only for John Marquis to equalise just moments later after latching onto a Doug Loft delivery.

The second half saw chances for both sides, however the points were eventually shared.

Justin Edinburgh, who was serving a one match touchline ban, named an unchanged team to the one that beat Swindon 3-0 with Josh Pritchard lining up in midfield alongside Jake Hessenthaler.

Cody McDonald partnered Marquis in attack with Brennan Dickenson returning to the bench.

Doncaster started Stephen Bywater in goal who spent the early part of the season at Priestfield.

The opening minutes were fairly even with neither side particularly bossing play; however Doncaster could perhaps boast more of the possession.

An early cross by Abdul Razak just escaped the reach of Tyson before a shot from McDonald at the other end was brilliantly blocked by Butler.

On 13 minutes the striker went closer, good work by Hessenthaler found the advancing Gavin Hoyte on the right wing. His first time cross found Cody at the far post but his header was comfortably caught by Bywater.

Four minutes later and Butler saved Doncaster from going a goal down. A cross from Martin was headed on by Marquis; it looked as if Dack would float the ball towards the far post but instead lifted it over Bywater with the centre-back recovering well to head off the line.

On the half hour mark the visitors had a couple of free kicks in quick succession, the first cleared by the Gills defence before the second, taken by Razak, struck Marquis before the resulting corner was caught by Nelson.

Shortly after, following Coppinger’s withdrawal in place of Forrester, Butler headed narrowly wide of the left hand post as a free kick was whipped just in front of the Gills keeper. However the presence of Nelson may have put off the defender as he missed the target.

With five minutes to go until the break Donny broke the deadlock with an audacious effort from Forrester. Dack was penalised for handball, the striker stood over the set piece which was a good 40 yards from goal.

Nelson looked well positioned but the forward decided to try his luck anyway and with the wind assisting him, the ball hit the back of the net as Stuart did his utmost to back track.

H/T: 1-1

The first chance of the half fell to Marquis – McDonald did well to keep the ball in on the left hand side. His strike partner received the ball and, with the aid of some clever footwork, found his way inside the box before his shot across the face of Bywater was well saved by the Donny keeper.

The following corner was headed over by Egan with Loft delivering yet another teasing ball.

Chances were few and far between as the conditions played havoc at Priestfield – on 69 minutes sub Kyle Bennett tried to swerve an effort inside the far post but his shot went wide of the target.

On 77 minutes Nelson was called upon to make a fine save when Forrester went on a great solo run, played a ball through the centre which he himself latched onto and found his way inside the box before the Gills keeper pulled off a decent save before earning a goal kick.

The hosts remained a threat and pressed forward in search of a winner. Sub Luke Norris and Marquis went closest but Bywater remained untroubled as both sides earned a point.

F/T: 1-1

Gills: Nelson, Hoyte, Ehmer, Egan, Martin, Hessenthaler, Loft, Pritchard (A Morris 25), Dack (McGlashan 83), McDonald (Norris 74), Marquis.
Unused subs: G Morris, Legge, Dickenson, Galbraith

Doncaster: Bywater, Furman, Razak (Bennett 58), Main, McCullough, Tyson (Robinson 76), Butler, Stevens, Wellens, Wabara, Coppinger (Forrester 34)
Unused subs: Marosi, McCombe, Ikpeazu, Middleton

Attendance: 5909 (370 Doncaster)

Referee: Mr K Hill