Two early goals not enough for Gills as the points are shared with Doncaster at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
Early goals from Jordan Graham and Vadaine Oliver were not enough as Gills drew 2-2 with Doncaster Rovers at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday.
Graham opened the scoring in the second minute. Alex MacDonald was played down the left-hand side and put a low cross into the box. Dempsey was first to it but saw his effort saved by Louis Jones.
Graham was first to the rebound and drilled his shot into the bottom corner.
Oliver doubled the Gills lead two minutes later. Ryan Jackson’s cross into the box was met by the forward and he converted beyond Jones and into the back of the net.
Tom Anderson got one back for the visitors in the 19th minute. James Coppinger’s cross towards the six-yard box saw Anderson rise highest, and his looping header over the head of Bonham ended up in the back of the net.
Coppinger got Doncaster’s equaliser in the 23rd minute. Donny did well to get in behind the Gills defence and played the ball across the box. Gills could not clear their lines, and Coppinger was on hand to slot his shot into the bottom corner.
Gillingham’s best chance to win the game came with ten minutes to go. Graham’s cross hit the post, and the rebound sat perfectly for the Gills skipper, Kyle Dempsey. He struck it powerfully, but a fantastic block by Joe Wright saw his effort go over the bar.
Steve Evans named an unchanged starting XI following the midweek win over Lincoln City. Matty Willock returned to the substitutes bench.
Jordan Graham got Gillingham off to a dream start in the second minute. Alex MacDonald got in behind the Doncaster defence and played a low ball across the penalty area. Kyle Dempsey beat his marker to it and flicked the ball towards goal. Louis Jones managed to save it, but Graham was on hand to place the rebound into the bottom corner.
Gills got their second of the game three minutes later through Vadaine Oliver. Ryan Jackson’s long throw came back out to him, and he crossed it into the area. Oliver was on hand to smash the ball home from just outside the six-yard box and double the hosts lead.
Fejiri Okenabirhie had Doncaster’s first chance of the game in the 11th minute. He managed to get some space 20 yards from the goal but dragged his effort well wide.
Omar Bogle thought he had a great chance to get the visitors back in the game moments later, but as he was rounding Jack Bonham, he was ruled offside by the linesman.
Doncaster got a goal back in the 19th minute through Tom Anderson. James Coppinger’s cross into the box was met by the head of the defender, and it looped beyond the reach of Bonham and into the back of the net.
Coppinger was at the heart of the action again soon after, equalising for Doncaster. After some smart play from the visitors, the ball was played into the box. It eventually found Coppinger, who drilled it into the bottom corner giving Bonham no chance.
In the 38th minute, MacDonald forced Jones into a moment of panic. Dempsey passed the ball to him from 25 yards out, and he then set himself and tried his luck. It forced the goalkeeper into a diving save as he managed to keep it out of the bottom corner.
HALF-TIME: Gillingham 2–2 Doncaster Rovers
The opening 15 minutes of the second half saw plenty of pressure on the Doncaster penalty area. Gills put plenty of balls into the box from Jackson’s long throws and a few Graham corners, but the visiting defence stood firm.
MacDonald came close to scoring in the 64th minute. Graham passed it to the midfielder, who was on the edge of the box. He struck it first time but could not make clear contact. It looked as if it was bouncing into the bottom corner until Joe Wright managed to stab it off the line.
It took a vital clearance on the line from Jack Tucker to deny Brad Halliday. There was a penalty shout beforehand, and Halliday latched onto the loose ball. He prodded it towards goal, and it took an oncoming Tucker to clear it off the line.
Gills somehow failed to score in the 79th minute. Graham’s cross towards the back post evaded everybody and hit the woodwork. The rebound fell perfectly to Dempsey and looked destined for the back of the net. Unfortunately, he was denied by a brave block from Wright as the ball went over the bar.
FULL-TIME: Gillingham 2–2 Doncaster Rovers
Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, Tucker, Cundy, Ogilvie, O’Keefe (McKenzie 78’), Dempsey, Graham, MacDonald (O’Connor 77’), Akinde (Lee 70’), Oliver
Unused Substitutes: Bastian, Willock, Johnson, Woods
Doncaster Rovers: Jones, Halliday, James, Anderson, Wright, Horton, Coppinger (Richards 61’), Sims (Lokilo 68’), Smith, Bogle (Gomes 88’), Okenabirhie
Unused Substitutes: Balcombe, Gomes, Robertson, John, Greaves
Referee: Will Finnie