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30 November 2015

Gillingham FC take a point back to Kent after battling torrid conditions away at Shrewsbury.

A goal from Cody McDonald and a stunning strike by Ryan Jackson ensured the visitors did not leave New Meadow empty handed, securing a 2-2 draw against Shrewsbury Town.

Manager Justin Edinburgh made two changes to the side that beat Rochdale 2-0 on Tuesday evening. McDonald in for the suspended Rory Donnelly and Captain Doug Loft making a return to the starting eleven in place of Emmanuel Osadebe.

The tone was set for a tough encounter from the off, with bitterly difficult conditions making it hard for either side to create any clear cut opportunities in the opening period.

With 20 minutes played there was little action in either final third. The hosts having two off target headers but little to concern Stuart Nelson in the Gills goal.

Jayson Leutwiler was called into action for the Shrews as Loft launched a powerful effort from distance, Leutwiler equal to the effort however pushed it out wide.

Shrewsbury took the lead after an unfortunate own-goal from Deji Oshilaja broke the deadlock. Ian Black whipping a free-kick into the Gills area which was glanced beyond Nelson by the head of Oshilaja.


Gills responded fantastically to the set-back, accelerating the pace and tempo of the game to cause Shrewsbury far more problems than they had in first 30 minutes.

The Shrews had their goalkeeper to thank, as he pulled off a superb reactive save to deny Dominic Samuel a second goal in his loan spell at the club.

Leutwiler was then able to deny Bradley Dack and Samuel twice is quick succession as Gillingham effectively found ways to expose the visitor’s defence.

Jake Hessenthaler was next in line to test Leutwiler, his low shot parried to frustrate the visitors who were overloading the Shrewsbury defence in search for a goal.

Moments later however Gillingham gained a deserved equaliser, McDonald showing composure to clinically strike the ball beyond the formidable right hand of Leutwiler.

The Gills had to be alert to Shrewsbury on the counter when a long ball forwards from Grandison was smartly headed on by Vernon. Nelson, sharp on his toes, was able to tip the ball over denying Shrewsbury the opportunity to re-gain the upper hand.

Dack posed the final question of the first half, drilling a ball across the six yard box but the Gills were unable to convert after ending the first half the stronger side.  

Half-Time: Town 1 Gillingham 1

The conditions continued to deteriorate during the break but Gillingham looked sharp as the second half begun.

Samuel continued his battle against Leutwiler, producing his third attempt on target for the home goalkeeper to stop.

Gills took the lead through a fantastic strike by Ryan Jackson who notched his first goal for the club in style.

From 25 yards, Jackson picked his spot to rifle the ball into the top corner causing jubilant scenes in the dugout and amongst the 256 loyal Gills fans that had made the long trip.

Having established a slender lead, Gillingham continued to press to further their advantage. Defying the conditions, the hard-working endeavours of Edinburgh’s side was commendable.

However it was Town who got the game’s next and final goal. Grandison making a galloping run before finding the feet of Vernon who fed the ball through to Collins. Collins’ run beat the Gills defence and he was able to cooly place the ball past the onrushing Nelson.

Gillingham searched for another goal but Town, spurred by their equaliser, enjoyed their strongest period of the match, limiting Gills opportunities to net.

McDonald did rattle the outside of the Shrews post and it was fellow goal scorer Jackson who had the Gills final chance of the game in stoppage time.The Gillingham defender launching an effort which Leutwiler skilfully parried away.

The final whistle was blown and whilst the Gills would have warranted three points, a draw in such difficult conditions away from home would do.

F/T: 2-2

Shrewsbury Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Anthony Gerrard, Nat Knight-Percival, Jermaine Grandison, Ian Black, Larnell Cole, Abu Ogogo, James Collins (c), Scott Vernon, Junior Brown, Sullay Kaikai

Subs: Calum Burton (GK), Liam McAlinden, Shaun Whalley, Dom Smith, Liam Lawrence, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, Tyrone Barnett

Gillingham: Stuart Nelson, Ryan Jackson, Bradley Garmston, John Eagan, Doug Loft (c), Jake Hessenthaler, Cody McDonald, Dominic Samuel, Aaron Morris, Bradley Dack, Adedeji Oshilaja

Subs: Glenn Morris (GK), Max Ehmer, Jordan Houghton, Jermaine McGlashan, Emmanuel Osadebe, Brennan Dickenson, Josh Wright

Attendance: 4,959 (256 Gillingham)

Referee: Kevin Wright 


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