Gills snatch dramatic draw with stoppage time equaliser.
Max Ehmer scored with one of the final kicks of the game to grab the Gills a 1-1 draw in a pulsating encounter amid terrible conditions against Peterborough United at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
After a goalless first half, Peterborough took the lead through Danny Lloyd who volleyed home following a flick on at the near post. Josh Parker thought he had an equaliser by bundling home on the line when his initial header was saved but the linesman didn’t flag and the Gills were harshly denied.
The Posh were made to pay for failing to kill the game off in stoppage time when Holy launched the ball towards goal which wasn’t dealt with and Max Ehmer controlled superbly before smashing home to send the Rainham End into pandemonium.
Gillingham Manager Steve Lovell made one change from the side that fell to defeat against table-topping Wigan Athletic as Elliott List replaced Lee Martin, who missed out due to a minor calf injury.
Gaby Zakuani captained the Gills in the absence of Martin, while Scott Wagstaff was fit enough for a return to the matchday squad for the first time since suffering a hamstring strain against Fleetwood in December.
The Posh started quickly with Jack Marriott getting a shot on target within the first minute, but Holy was alive to his effort, before a Callum Reilly free-kick evaded Tom Eaves in the box with the keeper able to claim the ball comfortably after it bounced.
Moving the ball about quickly, the visitors were causing the Gills issues with ex-loanee Doughty stinging the palms of Holy with a volley from outside the box before forcing a number of corners which Gillingham defended well.
Gillingham’s best moment of the opening ten minutes came from a long throw which dropped into the Posh box but List was unable to get on the end of the knock down from Josh Parker.
Rain and wind were making play difficult for both teams but Peterborough were looking the more dangerous as they knocked the ball around. A free-kick from Ward was cleared at the first time by the Gills defence but straight back to Ward and his shot arrowed wide.
Good play from List then carved open the Posh defence with a quick turn, and he appeared to be clipped on the corner of the box but played on and dragged his shot harmlessly into the hands of Bond.
Gillingham created another good opportunity after 21 minutes when a long ball towards Eaves was cleared as far as Reilly but his powerful drive was blocked. The Posh countered immediately and Marriott thought he had given Peterborough the lead but the linesman’s flag was up as he flicked a cross past Holy.
List was looking dangerous every time he got the ball. He drove at the Posh defence before jinking inside the box but just over-running the ball into Grant who was able to hack clear. Again, List beat his man down the right before delivering a great cross that was sliced over his own goal by Turner.
A dangerous attack from Peterborough nearly handed the visitors the lead just after the half hour as Marriott was found in space running towards goal. The ball skewed to Bogle who cut the ball back again towards Marriott but Gaby Zakuani did well to get a crucial block in.
The next Gills attempt didn’t come until the 39th minute when a mix-up by the Posh on the edge of their own box gave Parker space to shoot but he got under his shot and sent it far into the stands.
With three minutes until the break, Peterborough had a golden chance to take the lead as a long ball down the middle was flicked on into the path of Marriott who was one-on-one with Holy, however the Czech goalie stood tall to make a good block with his legs and keep the game level.
H/T: 0 – 0
The Gills started the second half with two bookings in quick succession as Mark Byrne and then Reilly saw yellow for fouls in the midfield.
As in the first half, it was the visitors playing with greater fluency and they had their first shooting opportunity seven minutes in with Zakuani getting his head in the way of Marriott’s 25-yard shot before Bogle prodded an effort wide moments later.
Just before the hour, Posh should have grabbed the first goal of the encounter as a counter attack exposed the Gills’ back-line. Max Ehmer did brilliantly well to get a block in as the ball fizzed towards goal past Holy before Marriott blazed the rebound well over the bar.
Finally, Gillingham started to settle and had their first chance on the hour mark as Bradley Garmston got to the by-line and chipped a ball in which Parker couldn’t get on top off with his header flying over.
A corner from Luke O’Neill then floated over everybody, catching Bond but landing on the top of the net unfortunately.
The game was opening up with both sides putting their foot down and the Posh created another opportunity when Marriott flicked the ball on to Bogle but he hammered his shot over the bar.
Peterborough got the goal their play deserved when a cross from the right was flicked on at the near post by Marriott and Lloyd had time and space from 10 yards out to place a volley past Holy after 67 minutes.
The Gills thought they had the equaliser after 70 minutes when a free-kick from the right was headed towards goal by Parker and stopped on the goal-line before seeming to be bundled over the line but neither the referee nor the linesman flagged for a goal leaving Gillingham’s players and fans livid at the officials.
And the referee was in the spotlight minutes later when Eaves did fantastically well to chase the ball and win it on the by-line before appearing to be tugged back as he looked to get onto the loose ball. Again, the home team were out of luck with nothing given.
With not much time left on the clock, the Gills were throwing everything at the Posh defence as they searched for an equaliser.
As the matched ticked into five minutes of added time, the Gills had a great chance for an equaliser when the referee gave a free-kick fight on the edge of the box ford handball. O’Neill took it but the wall did its job to block the shot.
The Posh nearly added a second with a quick counter, however Marriott blasted an effort wide when he had players in space.
That miss was to prove costly as a long ball from Holy caused all sorts of trouble in the Posh back-line and MAX EHMER burst through to smash a shot through Bond and snatch a point for the Gills.
F/T: 1 – 1
The Gills make the trip to Northampton Town on Tuesday night before hosting Walsall at MEMS Priestfield on Saturday.
Gillingham: Holy; O’Neill, Ehmer, Zakuani, Garmston (Ogilvie, 73); Byrne, Hessenthaler, Reilly (Wilkinson, 76); Eaves, Parker, List (Wagstaff, 67)
Unused subs: Hadler (GK), Nugent, Moussa, Nash
Peterborough United: Bond; Ward, (Hughes, 80), Turner, Baldwin, Tafazolli, Shephard; Grant, Lloyd (Forrester, 87), Doughty; Marriott, Bogle (Morias, 65)
Unused subs: O’Malley (GK), Lopes, Kanu, Cooper
Referee: Mr Andy Davies
Attendance: 7,154 (476)