Eaves comes off the bench to score dramatic equaliser against Shrewsbury.
Tom Eaves came back to haunt his former club by coming on as a second half substitute to score an equaliser in second-half stoppage time at the Montgomery Waters Meadow on Saturday.
Ollie Norbun had put Shrewsbury ahead moments earlier following a clinical counter attacking move, but the visitors refused to be beaten and Eaves produced an individual moment of brilliance to rescue a point for Gills in a 2-2 draw.
Brandon Hanlan had given Gillingham a 1-0 lead at the interval only for Lee Angol to swing the momentum in Shrewsbury’s favour on the hour mark prior to the late drama.
Steve Lovell made three changes to his starting XI, two of which forced upon the Gills boss with Connor Ogilvie and Regan Charles-Cook both injured. Bradley Garmston and Alex Lacey were the men chosen to come in with Luke O’Neill replacing Barry Fuller.
Lacey played at the base of the diamond with Dean Parrett given more licence to attack the Shrewsbury defence in support of Josh Parker and Brandon Hanlan.
Former Gills keeper Steve Arnold was among the substitutes for Shrewsbury.
It was the hosts who had the first half chance on three minutes when a short pass from Lee Angol found Ollie Norburn in space. He had time for a shot but sent it straight at Holy who made a comfortable save.
The hosts enjoyed more of the play in the opening 15 minutes but Gills defended well, doing enough to put Luke Waterfall off balance as he tried to meet Shaun Whalley’s corner.
Gillingham sized the chance to catch out Shrewsbury on the counter attack and on 18 minutes Hanlan did well to win a corner kick after stumbling slightly as he shaped up for a cross. From the corner, Ehmer managed to get a shot away from 12 yards which was spilled by Joel Coleman; Parrett won a header and Hanlan, with still a lot to do, managed to turn and get the ball across the line from close range.
Holy required treatment soon after for a head injury after bravely punching away Whalley’s free-kick but fortunately was in a position to continue. And soon after he was called upon twice in quick succession, firstly catching an excellent left-footed effort from Whalley before saving Aaron Amadi-Holloway’s header from point blank range.
On 35 minutes and Shrewsbury again had a couple of chances within a short space of time; firstly a header from Lee Angol was placed wide from just ten yards before Anthony Grant, a former Chelsea youngster, narrowly missed the target with an effort that was aiming for the top right corner.
Gillingham had to resist heavy pressure as the half came to a close with a late Greg Docherty strike across the face of goal failing to find another home shirt, with Lovell’s men able to get through until the break with a one goal advantage.
Shrewsbury started the second half brightly, forcing an early corner which was headed away before Zakuani and Garmston had to clear their lines following a couple of crosses from the left hand side.
The hosts dominated the early proceedings and Gillingham were put under severe pressure courtesy of some regular free-kicks and corners and this pressure was finally made to pay on the hour mark. A ball from the right was a touch heavy; it was kept in play on the opposite side and Angol dropped a touch deeper in order to receive the ball.
From just inside the box he curled a shot around a couple of Gills defenders and the diving Holy to level things up.
Shrewsbury continued to create chances but nothing of significance to trouble Holy into a save, however the Gills boss made all three subs in the space of 15 minutes with Fuller, Rees and Eaves replacing Garmston, Parrett and Parker.
On 71 minutes Angol has a great chance to put Shrewsbury ahead when a cross from the right was perfectly placed into his path. Having found space in between Ehmer and Zakuani he failed to make the appropriate contact and the chance was gone.
As the game entered the final ten minutes Gills were given an opportunity to test Joel Coleman when Eaves won a free-kick just outside the penalty area. O’Neill stepped up and struck the outside of the post with the keeper well placed to make a save if needed.
As the game looked destined to finish as a draw, Shrewsbury grabbed what they thohght was a winner on 88 minutes. Gills had a free-kick but lost possession and the hosts seized their chance to break. As the defence retreated, a low cross from the right was played beyond Fuller and Zakuani with Norburn free at the back post to beat Holy from close range.
However, the drama wasn’t over. Hanlan used his strength to bring a Gills attack forward, Eaves used clever trickery to escape a cluster of players and from 18 yards he found the bottom left corner with an excellent strike.
Both sides went for the winner, but the points were shared.
Shrewsbury: Coleman, Emmanuel, Sadler, Beckles, Whalley, Docherty, Angol, Amadi-Holloway (John Lewis 76), Waterfall, Norburn, Grant (Gilliead 87)
Unused subs: Arnold, Okenabirihie, Bolton, Laurent, Barnett.
Gills: Holy, O’Neill, Ehmer, Zakuani, Garmston (Fuller 55), Lacey, Byrne, Reilly, Parrett (Rees 65), Parker (Eaves 68), Hanlan.
Unused subs: Hadler, Simpson, Nasseri, Wilkinson
Attendance: 5695 (217 Gills)
Referee: Mr R Joyce