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Match Reports

Report: Blackpool 1-1 Gillingham

Tom Eaves strikes late to secure a point for the Gills.

21 November 2017

Points shared at Bloomfield Road.

A header from Tom Eaves in the last minute rescued a point for Gillingham in a 1-1 draw with Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on Tuesday night.

The striker latched on to a cross from Luke O’Neill and converted from a tight angle to ensure a share of the spoils in Blackpool.

Kyle Vassell’s goal just before half-time appeared to have done the job for the hosts, but as they sat back late in the game Gills enjoyed more possession and made their pressure pay with their best chance of the second half.

The Gills boss made just one change to the side that beat Walsall at the weekend with Mark Byrne replacing the suspended Max Ehmer. As a result Ben Chapman came into the match squad as a substitute alongside Ben Nugent, Darren Oldaker and Greg Cundle.

After just 25 seconds Blackpool nearly took the lead, a cross from the left hand side put O’Neill under a little bit of pressure, a heavy first touch gave Sean Longstaff a chance to get a shot away; the full back recovered and his sliding tackle came off the midfielder and wide of Holy’s left post.

A header from Colin Daniel was deflected wide before Gabriel Zakuani went within inches of giving Gills the lead when Lee Martin’s left footed cross was guided narrowly wide of the right post. Moments later, at the other end, Callum Cooke went just as close but missed the target with Holy at full stretch.

Viv Solomon-Otabor was the danger man for Blackpool in the opening half; he switched to the left-wing after 10 minutes and got a lot of joy on the opposite flank, producing a series of crosses, one of which nearly created the first goal on 27 minutes. His delicate ball finding Daniel who glanced a header just wide.

Ten minutes later and Gills went close once more; a quickly taken corner-kick was played across the face of goal by Martin and Parker, although gaining contact, was unable to get what he needed on the ball to get it across the line.

Blackpool nearly made the Gills pay for that during their very next attack; a corner-kick was met by the head of Curtis Tilt who got good contact on the ball but with the effort straight at Holy the keeper was able to claim comfortably.

However the hosts did finally take the lead on 41 minutes. Kelvin Mellor drove forward, cut into space on his left side and played a low pass to Vassell. His first shot was blocked but the ball came straight back to him and he made no mistake on the second occasion, powering a left footed effort beyond Holy.

With the half-time whistle looming Vassell nearly bagged a second but Holy tipped his effort round the post with Tilt blazing an effort over from the resulting corner.

H/T: 1-0

Gills enjoyed good territory in the early stages of the second half but an off target Wilkinson effort was the best the visitors could show for it.

This sparked Blackpool back into action and they had a dominant period where a number of chances came and went. Vassell saw a volley go wide at the far post before Callum Cooke failed to test Holy with a 20-yard effort which was inches wide of the target.

However Gills weathered the storm and went to 3-5-2 to try and limit the Blackpool threat, this appeared to work with Zakuani having a half chance blocked before Conor Wilkinson struck wide from 12 yards.

Colin Daniel saw a shot miss the target at the other end in a match which became progressively more open as Gills sent more bodies forward. As the clock ticked away Blackpool began to sit back and Lovell’s side won a few set plays as a result but failed to create anything clear cut.  

However, in the last few minutes Gills were applying serious pressure and in the last minute they got their rewards. A cross from the left came back out to O’Neill, his cross found Eaves at the back post and he did brilliantly to find a gap between the near post and Ryan Allsop with the ball crossing the line to the delight of the visiting fans.

And Gills nearly grabbed the winner moments later with Eaves at it again, however on this occasion the keeper was down quickly to make the save.

F/T: 1-1

Blackpool: Allsop, Mellor, Aimson, Vassell (Menga 75), Longstaff, Tilt, Solomon-Otabor (Gnanduillet 87), Turton, Daniel, Cooke (Sessi D’Almeida 76), Spearing.

Unused subs: Williams, Taylor, Ryan, Delfouneso.

Gills: Holy, Clare, Zakuani, O’Neill, Ogilvie, Byrne (Nugent 89), Hessenthaler (List 84), Parker, Martin, Eaves, Wilkinson (Wagstaff 77).

Unused subs: Nelson, Chapman, Oldaker, Cundle.

Attendance: 2650 (145)

Referee: Mr D Drysdale


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