Clean sheet for Gills as Peter Taylor picks up a point in first game back at the helm.
The Gills played out a goalless draw with Scunthorpe United at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Tuesday evening in a congested game of few chances.
Peter Taylor, Director of Football, took interim charge of the Gills on the night and made several changes from the side that fell to defeat away at Rochdale on Saturday. Elliott List, Connor Ogilvie and Jake Hessenthaler all came into the starting XI for the Gills with List and Sean Clare spearheading the attack.
In a closely-fought game, Josh Parker felt he should have had a penalty in the first half when he was brought down thanks to a clumsy challenge in the box, and Jesse Starkey powered a shot over the bar in the final minute of the game, but Tomas Holy earnt the Gills a point with a brilliant save to deny Hopper late on.
The home side started brightly and had the first chance of the game created by a great one-two between List and Hessenthaler which released the former, but his low cross just evaded Clare as he slid in at the near post.
Gillingham were certainly controlling the game through the first quarter of the game with a series of corners well-defended by the Iron, although Luke O’Neill unfortunately had to be replaced after 16 minutes with what looked to be a hamstring injury with Parker coming on his place.
Scunthorpe had their first attempt on goal minutes later as Paddy Madden attempted a speculative volley from 30 yards but it sailed comfortably wide of Holy’s goal.
The visitors were growing into the game and starting to see more of the ball, but the Gills were using the pace of Parker and List to good effect. One counter-attack saw Parker release Hessenthaler down the right flank but his chipped ball from the right was just headed away from List who was attacking the back post.
The Iron continued to press and Gillingham had to be alert to clear a free-kick that was whipped in dangerously from the left apex of the box by Morris, before scrambling away a corner to keep the game even.
Parker thought he had won the Gills a penalty just after the half-hour as he went down under a clumsy challenge in the box, but the referee deemed the contact to be insufficient and waved play on.
The Gills were thankful for a brilliant Ben Nugent block to maintain parity as a cut-back found a Scunthorpe forward in space, but as he pulled the trigger Nugent dived in to make the crucial tackle.
In a see-saw first-half, Gillingham were inches from taking the lead as a brilliant corner from Clare was hacked back towards goal by Alex Lacey at the back-post and Max Ehmer’s flick just cleared the bar, landing on top of the net.
The home side had a number of set pieces to finish the half but were unable to create any more meaningful chances and the first period finished goalless.
H/T: 0 – 0
Starkey came on for his Gillingham debut, replacing Clare at half-time and the switch nearly paid instant dividends. List won a long-ball on the edge of the Scunthorpe penalty box to find Byrne down the right wing but his cross was just nicked away from Parker as he looked to pounce.
The visitors then had their best chance of the game as a cross from the right beat everybody but found Holmes at the far post who shot was well kept out by the feet of Holy.
After that flurry of action the game settled into a more familiar patter with Gillingham looking to use their width and pace to break on the visitors.
Byrne did test the keeper just after the hour mark as a corner was cleared and the Irish midfielder took the ball on the bounce from over 25 yards but his shot lacked the power to trouble Gilks. The corner followed a dangerous spell from the hosts with Byrne finding space down the right wing but he saw his cross diverted behind.
The visitors were soon granted another chance of their own with Lacey penalised for a high boot on the edge of the penalty area, but Morris’ free-kick tamely floated over the bar, before Holy kept out a shot from Morris as he cut in the from the wing.
The Gills were starting to fall under severe pressure with Nugent doing superbly to clear the ball from in front of his own goal, as Morris again found joy down the left.
Despite that, the home side had the next chance as Byrne drove down the right and his cross found Parker, but with the ball slightly behind him the forward could only shoot wide.
As the match entered the final ten minutes both teams were pushing but struggling to find space in what had been a highly congested encounter.
Scunthorpe had a golden chance to snatch a goal as in-swinging corner found Wallace whose powerful header whistled past the post.
Hopper had another gilt-edged opportunity when he was able to turn inside the box but Holy did superbly well to spread himself and make the block.
As the game entered four minutes of stoppage time, a cross from Byrne found Starkey deep in the box but his powerful effort was deflected over for corner.
Despite both teams continuing to look for a winner, the game finished as it had begun with Gillingham secured a point and a clean sheet.
F/T: 0 – 0
The Gills travel to Ewood Park this weekend looking for their first victory on the road against Blackburn Rovers.
Gillingham: Holy; O’Neill (Parker, 16), Nugent, Zakuani, Lacey, Ogilvie; Ehmer, Byrne, Hessenthaler; Clare (Starkey, 46), List (Nash, 70)
Unused subs: Arnold, Simpson, Oldaker, Cundle
Scunthorpe United: Gilks, Clarke, Wallace, McArdle, Ojo (Mantom, 63); Morris, Holmes (Adelakun, 86), Bishop, Butroid; Hopper, Madden (Novak, 63)
Unused subs: Watson (GK), van Veen, Burgess, Crofts
Referee: Mr Kevin Johnson
Attendance: 4,002 (158)