Report | Gillingham 2-2 Wycombe Wanderers

Second-half fight back earns Gills a point.

Gillingham produced a brave second-half fightback to earn a point in a 2-2 draw and continue their recent positive spell against Gareth Ainsworth’s in-form Wycombe Wanderers side in abysmal conditions on Saturday afternoon in Sky Bet League One at the Medway Priestfield Stadium.

Adam El-Abd fired home a clinical finish against his former employers before Nathan Tyson doubled the lead five minutes later to put the Chairboys in total control at the break.

However, Gillingham fought back with renewed vigour in the second-half with Tom Eaves notching his fifteenth of the season to get the home side back in the game. Josh Parker then rose highest to meet a corner and power a header home in front of the Rainham End to grab a point for the Gills.

Gillingham Manager Steve Lovell named just one change from the side that had performed so impressively at Glanford Park the week before, as Alex Lacey replaced the injured Max Ehmer. Brandon Hanlan had also recovered from a hand injury and so came into the matchday squad.

Wycombe had the first real opening of the game after eight minutes when Onyedinma burst through the defence, got to the byline and tried to pull it back but Tomas Holy stretched out a big leg to prevent a tap in at the far post.

The ball bounced out into the middle of the area and the Gills defence stood firm to block Samuel’s shot behind.

A couple of minutes later, Gape had a great chance to get the visitors ahead as a deep cross was nodded back into his path 10 yards out but his low drive was deflected behind.

However, from the corner Wycombe were ahead as Gillingham failed to clear their lines before the ball dropped invitingly to El-Abd and the former Gills defender blasted low into the bottom corner.

Just after the quarter of an hour mark, Wycombe doubled their lead as another ball into the box wasn’t fully cleared and Tyson was in the right place at the right time to latch onto the loose ball and power home.

Gillingham’s first effort came after 25 minutes as a throw found Parker in the box who span his man before a firing a shot away that Henderson did well to push clear.

Great play from Elliott List then got the Gills in again as he rampaged forward but his effort at goal was blocked behind with Parker calling for it in space on the left.

From the corner, Eaves won the header at the far post nodding it back into the danger zone but the Wycombe defence were alive to the danger to get a great block in on List’s shot.

With half-time approaching, the Gills nearly got a fortuitous equaliser as a driving run from Barry Fuller released List and despite miscuing the cross in the ball nearly ended up in the top corner just brushing the crossbar on its way over.

A free-kick for the Gills on the stroke of half-time gave DJ Oldaker the chance to line one up from range. He hit a ferocious effort from around 35 yards out that nearly slipped through Henderson’s grasp but he got just enough on it to keep it out.

Late penalty appeals for a tug on Eaves as a corner was delivered were dismissed by the referee who immediately blew for half-time.

H/T: 0 – 2                                                    

Steve Lovell introduced Bradley Garmston at the break in a bid to get the Gills back into the game, however the visitors threatened first with Onyedinma breaking through but Holy made a good block to keep the contest alive.

The Gills were back in the game after 56 minutes as a drilled free-kick from Mark Byrne somehow made its way to the back post where TOM EAVES controlled the ball before poking home past Henderson.

The visitors had a great chance to restore their two goal advantage when Holy could only parry a shot from long range into the path of Samuel but he blasted over from the angle 12 yards out.

The goal had revitalised the Gills with Garmston firing a rocket wide after a corner wasn’t fully cleared by Wycombe as the hosts started to apply some concerted pressure.

However, the Chairboys were a constant threat getting the ball wide and delivering crosses in for their forwards to attack. A cross in after 66 minutes was well defended by Lacey, getting a boot in at the crucial time to deny a goal.

74 minutes in, Gillingham had their best chance since their goal when pinball in the box granted List a shot from a tight angle but it was blocked by a last ditch Wycombe tackle.

However, the Gills were not to be denied when Parrett floated a corner in and JOSH PARKER rose unmarked in the middle of the area to arrow a bullet header into the top corner and haul the hosts level.

Samuel immediately looked to get Wycombe back ahead but dragged his shot from 30 yards wide of the goal.

It was now the visitors in the ascendancy after relinquishing their two goal lead as El-Abd fired a shot wide from the edge of the area after Holy had done well to punch a corner clear.

With the game ticking close to 90 minutes, substitute Hanlan did fantastically well to shake off Jombati before setting up Parker but his first time shot was dragged wide.

Holy had to be at his best to make a great save as Williams cut inside and shot towards the top corner but the big keeper got across his line well before stretching out a massive paw to tip it over in a crucial moment.

That was the final meaningful action of the game with both sides having to settle for a point apiece.

F/T: 2 – 2

Steve Lovell takes his side to The Valley next Saturday with the Gills looking to finish their games on the road in 2018 as they started it – with victory away at Charlton.

Gillingham: Holy, Fuller, Zakuani (c), Lacey, Ogilvie; Oldaker (Garmston, 46), Parrett, Byrne, Parker; Eaves, List (Hanlan, 85)

Unused subs: Hadler (GK), O’Neill, Bingham, Charles-Cook, Rees

Wycombe Wanderers: Henderson; Jombati, El-Abd (c), McCarthy, Jacobson; Thompson, Morris, Gape; Onyedinma, Tyson (Williams, 76), Samuel

Unused subs: Yates (GK), Stewart, Mackail-Smith, Kashket, Cowan-Hall, Freeman

Referee: Mr Dean Whitestone                

Attendance: 4687 (495)