Points shared at Montgomery Waters Meadow.
The Gills picked up another point on the road with a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Shrewsbury Town at Montgomery Waters Meadow on Tuesday night.
The Gills went ahead at the end of a tight first half, as Stuart O’Keefe diverted a penalty won by Tommy O’Connor. Shrewsbury equalised in the second half thanks to Omar Beckles, meaning Gillingham returned to Kent with a share of the points, despite late chances for Dave Edwards and Fejiri Okenabirhie.
Gills manager Steve Evans made three changes to the side that was narrowly beaten by Peterborough United at the weekend. The suspended Mark Byrne, Olly Lee and Mikael Ndjoli all dropped out, with Mark Marshall, Regan Charles-Cook and Alex Jakubiak all coming into the team.
The Gills had the first opening inside two minutes, as Regan Charles-Cook found himself in behind on the right, but Max O’Leary in the Shrewsbury goal did well to smother his cross. The next chance fell to centre back Connor Ogilvie, who fired a header just wide of the post from a driven Jack Tucker cross as the away side had the better of the opening stages.
The home side’s first effort came from Sean Goss’ long-range free kick, which flew harmlessly over the bar. Josh Laurent was the next man to try his luck after exchanging passes with Daniel Udoh, but his shot from outside the box was comfortable for Jack Bonham in the Gills goal.
The Shrews continued to grow into the game, and bought another save from Bonham, as Laurent found Jason Cummings, who tested the Gills’ keeper low to his left. However, it was the Gills who went close next. Mark Marshall’s cross took a nick off a Shrewsbury player on the way through, and dropped just wide of the post.
From the resulting corner, the Gills were awarded a penalty after Tommy O’Connor was taken out by Ryan Giles in the box. Stuart O’Keefe stepped up, and sent O’Leary the wrong way to give Gillingham the lead with 43 minutes played. 0-1
The Gills had the final chance of the half when an O’Connor free-kick was headed just over the bar by Brandon Hanlan, as the visitors went in a goal up at the break.
H/T: Shrewsbury Town 0-1 Gillingham
Shrewsbury had the first chance of the second half, when Giles crossed towards substitute Fejiri Okenabirhie, who headed over the bar. At the other end, Alex Jakubiak found Marshall in room, and his effort was saved by O’Leary at his near post.
After an hour, the Gills tried their luck from an O’Connor free-kick, but he curled his effort over the bar. With 63 minutes played, Shrewsbury were level. Goss’ cross from the left found Omar Beckles in the middle, and he diverted the cross beyond Bonham to make it 1-1.
The Gills responded, and O’Leary was soon called into action to turn over Alfie Jones’ deflected cross. Hanlan had the next effort as Gillingham pressed for a goal, with his low drive comfortable enough for O’Leary.
At the other end, Shrewsbury had a chance when Donald Love headed the ball down to substitute Shaun Whalley, but his wild shot went well wide.
After 78 minutes, Gills boss Steve Evans made his first change, replacing Regan Charles-Cook with Olly Lee. A second soon followed, as Mikael Ndjoli came on for Alex Jakubiak.
Ndjoli soon had a go at goal, and saw his strike from distance turned round the post by O’Leary. From the resulting corner, the ball dropped to Hanlan, but he couldn’t keep his volley down.
As the ninety minutes drew to a close, the Shrews could have had their second. Whalley’s cross picked out fellow substitute Dave Edwards, and he somehow headed wide of Bonham’s goal. They came close again moments later, as Love’s cross found Okenabirhie, and like his team mate, his header failed to find the target.
The Gills made their final change as the game drew to a close, with Lee Hodson replacing Marshall.
F/T: Shrewsbury Town 1-1 Gillingham
Shrewsbury Town: O’Leary, Pierre, Williams, Beckles, Norburn, Giles, Love, Goss, Udoh (Okenabirhie 29), Laurent (Whalley 58), Cummings (Edwards 72)
Unused subs: Murphy, Golbourne, Walker, Thompson
Gillingham: Bonham, Tucker, Ehmer, Ogilvie, O’Connor, Marshall (Hodson 92), Jones, O’Keefe, Charles-Cook (Lee 78), Hanlan, Jakubiak (Ndjoli 80)
Unused subs: Walsh, Mandron, Cisse, Pringle
Referee: Mr W Finnie