Defensive masterclass earns Gills a point at Fratton Park.
Gillingham came away from Fratton Park with a deserved point after a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Portsmouth.
Pompey had the better of the first half, with Ben Close and Gareth Evans both bringing saves out of Jack Bonham in the Gills goal. Portsmouth continued to have more of the ball in the second half, but the away side held on with a fantastic defensive display, despite Lee Brown’s late chance which was struck wide.
Gillingham manager Steve Evans made two changes to the side that beat Southend United 3-1 in League One last Saturday. An injury to Barry Fuller meant that he was replaced by Jack Tucker, while Olly Lee also dropped out of the side, with Alex Jakubiak coming in to take his place.
Portsmouth had the first chance within the opening two minutes, as Gareth Evans found room on the edge of the area, but Jack Bonham got down to make a good save to his right. Bonham was called into action again after ten minutes, as Brett Pitman set up Ben Close on the edge of the box, but the Gills ‘keeper was equal to it once more.
Gills had their first effort just after a quarter of an hour, but Tommy O’Connor’s free-kick from the edge of the area flew comfortably over the bar. It was Portsmouth who were having the better of the game though, and Bonham was called into action once again, this time to turn Evans’ free-kick round the post.
At the other end, Mikael Ndjoli had Portsmouth ‘keeper Alex Bass scrambling, as his effort curled just wide of his right post. The home side came closest to scoring just after the half hour mark, when Evans’ free-kick found Ellis Harrison, and he headed against the inside of the post, and somehow, the ball bounced out.
The pair combined not long after, from yet another Evans free-kick, with Harrison this time heading over the bar.
H/T: Portsmouth 0-0 Gillingham
Harrison had the first chance of the second half, trying his luck from range, but he saw his shot saved well by Bonham. Gills found themselves in a good position not long after, with Alfie Jones playing a good pass into Ndjoli, who looked for Hanlan in the middle, but he was dealt with by the Portsmouth defence.
Lee Brown had the next opening for Portsmouth after 70 minutes after going past Jack Tucker, but sliced his shot well wide. After 75 minutes, Steve Evans made his first change, bringing on Mark Marshall for Alex Jakubiak. A few minutes later he made his second change, sending on Mikael Mandron in place of Mikael Ndjoli.
Hanlan took aim at Bass’ goal with ten minutes to go after cutting in from the left, but it was a comfortable enough save for the Portsmouth ‘keeper. The Gills made their final change midway through injury time, Lee Hodson coming on in place of Brandon Hanlan.
Portsmouth came within inches of nicking all three points deep into stoppage time, as substitute Ryan Williams’ cross came through to Lee Brown, who drilled his shot just wide of the far post. However, it transpired a foul would have been given on Max Ehmer anyway.
A point apiece at Fratton Park with Gills producing an excellent organised display, one which boss Steve Evans was proud of.
F/T: Portsmouth 0-0 Gillingham
Portsmouth: Bass, Bolton, Burgess, Raggett, Brown, Harness, Naylor, Close (Williams 75), Evans (Cannon 75), Pitman (Marquis 53), Harrison
Unused subs: McGee, Downing, Curtis, Haunstrup
Gillingham: Bonham, Tucker, Ehmer, Ogilvie, O’Connor, O’Keefe, Jones, Byrne, Ndjoli (Mandron 79), Hanlan (Hodson 93), Jakubiak (Marshall 75)
Unused subs: Walsh, Charles-Cook, Pringle, Lee
Referee: Mr G Salisbury
Attendance: 18,036 (672 away)