All square at the Fullicks Stadium.
Conor Wilkinson struck in the closing stages to secure a 1-1 draw with Folkestone in a pre-season friendly at the Fullicks Stadium on Saturday.
Ade Yusuff’s late first-half effort looked like it could be enough for the hosts, but Gills persistence finally paid off with 15 minutes to go with Conor Wilkinson finishing well from the edge of the box.
As expected, manager Steve Lovell fielded two different sides in either half. Tom Hadler started the first half in goal with Callum Reilly leading out the team at Folkestone.
Both sides looked to play a high tempo in the opening stages despite the very hot conditions and there wasn’t an awful lot to separate the sides after ten minutes. A corner for the hosts was well claimed by Hadler before Liam Nash saw his drilled left footed effort clear the post by a few yards.
A right footed effort from Elliott List inside the box, from a tight angle, went narrowly wide before Jerson Dos Santos forced a decent stop from Hadler low to his left after using his strength to get past Byrne on the edge of the penalty area.
List looked increasingly lively but was unable to find the breakthrough before the break, and Folkestone grew in confidence prior to taking the lead seconds prior to the half-time whistle.
Yusuff found space through the middle and was all of a sudden facing a one-on-one with Hadler who came out to narrow the gap. The striker found Dos Santos to his left, and although the ball seemed to have gone too far, he cut it back for Yusuff who converted from close range.
The second half team saw Tomas Holy take his place between the sticks with Gabriel Zakuani taking the captain’s armband.
Gillingham came out of the blocks well and had two early corner kicks which were well defended with Dean Parrett having a decent opportunity between the two set plays; his excellent run saw him drive into the box but keeper Nick Shaw, on for Roberts at the break, made a decent save with his feet.
A few set plays came and went for the visitors and it appeared as if Folkestone might hold on, however with a quarter of an hour left Gillingham finally got the goal their persistence warranted. Parker found space through the middle, played in Wilkinson who was stood to his left and the number ten picked his spot and produced a clinical finish to make the score 1-1.
With just seconds left Gills thought they had won it but Shaw made a crucial one handed save from Brandon Hanlan when his volleyed effort, from Zakuani’s header, was palmed against the post before Folkestone cleared.
Folkestone Invicta: Roberts (Shaw HT), Aboagye, Blanks, Vincent, Davies, Everitt (Paxman HT), McCann, Dolan, Yusuff, Dos Santos, Ter Horst (Draycott HT).
Gills (first half): Hadler, O'Neill, Ehmer, O'Mara, Garmston, Byrne, Reilly, Charles-Cook, Nash, Eaves, List.
(Second half): Holy, Fuller, Lacey, Zakuani, Simpson, Rees, Parrett, Nasseri, Hanlan, Wilkinson, Parker.