Gills draw at Doncaster after late drama at The Keepmoat.
A thrilling game at The Keepmoat resulted in Gillingham taking a point in a 3-3 draw despite going two goals up and scoring what appeared to be a late winner against high-flying Doncaster Rovers in Sky Bet League One.
Despite Doncaster dominating the game, Gillingham went in to the break with a two goal lead after Barry Fuller smashed home a goal of the season contender from 35 yards and Tom Eaves scored another superb goal, bamboozling his marker before curling low past the keeper.
Rovers continued to throw the kitchen sink and were level through two set pieces as Marquis scrambled home following a goalmouth scramble before Wilks nodded home from point blank range.
However, the Gills appeared to have executed the perfect away smash and grab as Max Ehmer lashed home a corner on 88 minutes, but a deflected effort from Taylor in added time rescued a point for the hosts.
Gillingham Manager Steve Lovell made two changes to the side that lost against Southend United last weekend. Bradley Stevenson was handed his first ever league start for the Gills and Josh Parker returned from international duty to start alongside Tom Eaves up front, with Billy Bingham also fit enough to make the matchday squad.
The first chance of the game came for Rovers with Mason in space on the right hand side of the box to clip a ball into the middle which was met by former Gills striker Marquis but his header flew over the bar.
However the Gills took the lead on six minutes through a BARRY FULLER screamer! Bradley Stevenson’s free-kick was headed clear, or so Rovers thought, but the full-back chested the ball down and struck a first-time volley to beat Marosi from 35 yards.
The hosts were getting the ball wide and then whipping crosses in towards Marquis who nearly shinned one in after ten minutes after he was surprised by a delivery that made it through a crowded box but his effort skimmed wide.
Pressure was mounting on the Gills defence with Gaby Zakuani doing brilliantly to get back and block a shot from Marquis who was slipped through down the right hand side of the box. Marquis then headed over after Mason did well to stand up a cross into the centre of the area.
Coppinger had the next chance for Donny after a low cross was pulled back to him on the edge of the box and he jinked inside his man and shot towards goal but Ehmer was positioned well to block the ball. Another shot from Coppinger which he tried to bend into the far corner was deflected behind by a block from Alex Lacey.
Despite Doncaster dominating the game, Gills doubled the lead after 24 minutes as Zakuani chipped a ball into the path of TOM EAVES who beat his man and curled past the keeper to add to his tally.
Rovers immediately had a chance to hit back with Zakuani penalised for a foul 25 yards out from goal and receiving a booking. Whiteman took responsibility and tried to deceive the wall by striking it low but the Gills managed to dangle a leg down and block the ball.
Coppinger had another opportunity to add to his previous attempts when the ball fell kiundly to him on the edge of the area but Holy got down well to hold on to his low drive. Marquis then had a gold chance for Doncaster as he was played clean through on goal but Holy raced off his line and made a superb block to preserve Gillingham’s two goal advantage.
Another free-kick from Doncaster on the apex of the box was blasted towards goal by Andrew with Holy unable to hold on to the ball but fortunately Zakuani was on hand to bundle behind. From the corner Butler rose highest but Wilks was unable to apply the finishing touch and Gills survived.
The chances kept coming for Rovers with Blair the next to find space on the edge of the box but his stabbed effort flew over the bar. A cross towards the back post was then cleared by Fuller to prevent a certain goal before Marquis mis-timed a shot and Holy was able to make a simple save.
As the game ticked into a minute of added time, Parker did superbly to hold the ball up and draw a foul on the right flank. O’Neill whipped a good ball into the box but Rovers managed to clear the ball and the Gills headed into the break two goals to the good.
H/T: 0 – 2
The second half started much as the first had ended with Rovers piling on the pressure and winning consecutive corners. The onslaught soon paid off as a free-kick near the corner flag led to a goalmouth scramble and Marquis bundled the ball over the line to halve the deficit just five minutes in to the second half.
Lovell brought on Bingham and Connor Ogilvie just before the hour to try and stem the tide and get the Gills back into the game.
Doncaster were nearly level just after the hour in a disastrous manner for the Gills as Holy dallied on the ball before his clearance struck Marquis and rebounded just wide of the goal with the visitors under siege.
The equaliser came after 67 minutes through another set piece which appeared to have been defended by the Gills defence but Rovers managed to keep the ball alive heading back across goal for Wilks to apply the finishing touch.
Wilks soon after had a glorious chance to take the lead as Marquis delivered into the box but from the edge of the six yard area he could only direct his header straight at Holy.
Gillingham were coping well with Rover’s attacks – Coppinger came closest but his shot from the edge of the area was straight at Holy who managed to hold on.
And the Gills had a golden chance to regain the lead as a pass split the Doncaster defence and substitute Navid Nasseri burst clean through on goal, however his touch let him down and Marosi was able to claim.
But the Gills were not to be denied! In the 88th minute a corner was floated in and ended up with MAX EHMER at the far post who controlled before lashing home an unstoppable shot from a tight angle.
The lead was short-lived as just as five extra minutes were announced by the fourth official, Doncaster levelled as Taylor cut in on the apex of the box his shot took a deflection to beat Holy.
Rovers thought they had won it a minute later as the ball dropped to Whiteman on the edge of the box but his snap shot was inches wide of the post.
The final shot of the game was gobbled up by Holy and the Gills left Yorkshire with a point.
F/T: 3 – 3
Gillingham face another long journey on Tuesday night when they take on Plymouth Argyle at Home Park before returning to the Medway Priestfield at the weekend against struggling Bradford.
Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill (Nasseri, 74), Zakuani, Ehmer, Fuller; Lacey (Bingham, 57), Byrne, Reilly, Stevenson (Ogilvie, 57); Eaves, Parker
Unused subs: Hadler (GK), Garmston, Rees, List
Doncaster Rovers: Marosi; Mason, Butler, Anderson, Andrew; Blair (Anderson, 69), Whiteman, Kane (Crawford, 52); Coppinger (Taylor, 84), Wilks, Marquis
Unused subs: Lawlor (GK), Beestin, Horton, May
Referee: Mr Graham Salisbury
Attendance: 6,891 (237)