Bradley Dack scores as goalkeeper Stuart Nelson shows pre-season form
Bradley Dack’s second half goal and a number of impressive saves from Stuart Nelson earned the Gills a 1-1 draw against Billericay Town in Tuesday’s pre-season friendly at New Lodge.
In an end-to-end match, Dack’s opener 14 minutes from time looked set to give the visitors the win, before trialist striker Josh Oyinsan levelled for the Isthmian League Premier Division side 120 seconds later.
Manager Justin Edinburgh made several changes to the starting XI from Tuesday's win against Concord Rangers; he opted for Rory Donnelly and Joe Quigley upfront, with a strong midfield comprising Jake Hessenthaler, Billy Knott, Lee Martin and Darren Oldaker.
>> Click here for our official match gallery
Hessenthaler saw his 20-yard effort easily saved on five minutes, before Quigley shot just wide from Donnelly’s assist halfway through the opening 45.
Donnelly twice threatened shortly before the break; first heading at the Town goalkeeper from Martin’s cross, and then spectacularly volleying narrowly over.
Nelson had earlier indicated his good form, blocking a shot from midfielder Alistair Gordon inside the box.
Two minutes after coming on, Mark Byrne struck the bar with a free-kick, a chance that was quickly followed by an onrushing Martin being denied by the Town goalkeeper’s feet.
However, during a five-minute period in the middle of the half, Nelson kept the Gills in the game. He denied Junior Luke when he was through on goal, and then denied Rokas Janilionis’s header from the following corner.
Nelson had to fly through the air to keep out Abdeen Abdul’s curling effort, and made a brilliant reaction save to stop Alex Maitrepierre from six yards after the ball had fallen kindly to him.
Town looked like being made to pay for Nelson’s heroics, as Dack slotted home from Cody McDonald’s cross to put the Gills in front on 76 minutes.
However, Oyinsan scored the goal of the game, firing home from an acute angle two minutes later to tie the match.
The Gills are next in action against former manager Martin Allen and his Barnet side at The Hive on Saturday afternoon. Click here for ticket information.
Nelson, Jackson, Ehmer, Osadebe, Trialist, Knott, Martin, Oldaker, Hessenthaler, Quigley, DonnellyGillingham (first half):
Nelson, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Wagstaff (Byrne 54), Martin (McDonald 59), Oldaker (Osadebe 70), Hessenthaler (Dack 59), Quigley (Wright 59), Donnelly (Norris 59)Gillingham (second half):