Gills fight back to earn a hard-earned point against Charlton.
Gills produced a spirited second half performance to seal a point in a 1-1 draw against Charlton Athletic at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Tuesday.
The visitors took a first-half lead through Elliot Lee when he latched onto a cross from Corey Blackett-Taylor and managed to blast a powerful effort past Jamie Cumming at the near post.
Gills responded well after half-time and came out of the traps quickly. They were rewarded for their early pressure thanks to the quick thinking of Kyle Dempsey. He took a quick corner and was then able to venture into the box untroubled. The Gillingham skipper then curled a shot towards the far post, leaving Craig MacGillivray with no chance. It smashed off the woodwork and into Purrington before bouncing into the back of the net to bring Gills level.
Steve Evans made two changes to the side from the weekend as Olly Lee replaced the suspended Stuart O’Keefe. Rhys Bennett also came into the team in place of David Tutonda.
Elliot Lee had the first shot on target after seven minutes. He received the ball on the edge of the area and tried a low-drilled shot, but Jamie Cumming was equal to it.
Lee put the visitors in front in the 18th minute. Corey Blackett-Taylor led the Charlton counter-attack and squared it across to Lee. The Charlton forward’s shot had plenty of power, and had enough to beat the Chelsea loanee at his left post.
Jack Tucker did magnificently to deny Conor Washington a shot on goal as the Charlton forward beat the offside trap. Washington broke into the box and directed a shot towards the bottom corner, and Tucker came sliding in to block the shot, and then Cumming collected the loose ball.
HALF-TIME: Gillingham 0-1 Charlton Athletic
Gills made two substitutions at half-time as Danny Lloyd and Gerald Sithole replaced Dan Adshead and Charlie Kelman respectively.
There was a huge penalty shout shortly after the break as Sithole directed the ball towards the goal. It hit the raised arm of a Charlton player, but the referee waved away the shouts.
Vadaine Oliver came close moments later. Robbie McKenzie’s cross made its way to the back post via Max Ehmer, but Oliver’s sliding effort hit the side netting.
In the 54th minute, the hand of Craig MacGillivray denied Gillingham an equaliser. Lloyd went on a mazy run before drilling the ball towards the bottom corner. MacGillivray got a crucial hand onto it, preventing the ball from finding the bottom corner or the foot of Oliver.
Just a minute later, Gillingham found the equaliser. Kyle Dempsey went quick with the corner and went with a one-two. He dribbled into the area before rifling a curling shot towards the far post. It smashed off the inside of the woodwork before hitting Ben Purrington and bouncing into an empty net.
In the 63rd minute, Cumming somehow denied Josh Davison. Blackett-Taylor’s low cross went across the penalty area towards the back post, with Davison waiting alone. He shot towards the corner, and the Chelsea loanee incredibly got across to push it out for a corner.
From that, Same Lavelle forced Cumming into action again. The cross allowed the defender to shoot on the volley, and Cumming did well to react quickly and parry it away.
Lloyd came inches away from finding the winning goal shortly after. The winger was in acres of space, and Sithole played a perfect pass into Lloyd. His effort hit the post and bounced back into the penalty area, and Charlton cleared their lines.
FULL-TIME: Gillingham 1-1 Charlton Athletic
Gillingham: Cumming, Bennett (Tutonda 75’), Ehmer, Tucker, McKenzie, MacDonald, Adshead (Lloyd 46’), Dempsey, Lee, Kelman (Sithole 46’), Oliver
Unused Substitutes: Chapman, Akehurst, Reeves, Akinde
Charlton Athletic: MacGillivray, Matthews, Lavelle, Pearce, Purrington, Lee (Gilbey 75’), Watson, Morgan, Blackett-Taylor, Washington (Leko 46’), Davison (Stockley 81’)
Unused Substitutes: Harness, Famewo, Kirk, Clare
Referee: Keith Stroud