Gills go ahead twice but are forced to settle for a point against Cheltenham.
Vadaine Oliver and Ben Reeves both scored at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium as Gills came away with a well-deserved point in a 2-2 draw against Cheltenham on Good Friday.
Oliver put Gillingham in front when he managed to beat the offside trap to prod beyond Owen Evans.
Callum Wright equalised before half-time as he was first to meet a rebound following Alfie May's effort.
On the hour, Reeves curled Gillingham back in front. Oliver's smart pass put him through on goal, and he did well to create space for himself before bending his shot into the bottom corner.
Kion Etete levelled for the hosts as he headed home from close range, following Sean Long's header back into the danger zone.
Conor Masterson came inches away from winning it in the dying moments as his first-time effort from 20 yards hit the post.
Neil Harris made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 at home to Wycombe. Stuart O’Keefe was not fit enough to make the squad, so Ben Reeves started in his place. Robbie McKenzie came back into the line-up, while David Tutonda was fit for the bench. Gerald Sithole and Dan Phillips were also options from the bench.
Ryan Jackson had the first chance of the game in the 12th minute. His long throw came back to him, and he ran towards the penalty area. He cut in on his right foot and aimed a shot towards the near post which was well saved.
From the resulting corner, Vadaine Oliver poked Gillingham in front. Olly Lee’s delivery was initially cleared, but Reeves headed it back into the penalty area. McKenzie was on hand to flick it into the path of Oliver, who beat the offside trap, and he prodded it beyond Owen Evans and into the back of the net.
Reeves forced a massive save from Evans in the 23rd minute. Jackson’s throw into the area was flicked on by Conor Masterson into the path of Reeves. The midfielder took a touch and volleyed on the turn, but Evans pulled off a great save to deny him.
Aaron Chapman did well to deny Liam Sercombe with less than ten minutes before the break. Sercombe managed to put his shot between the legs of a Gillingham defender, and it was going towards the bottom corner. However, Chapman did well to get down to it with a restricted view to push it behind.
In the 40th minute, Callum Wright brought Cheltenham level. They hit Gills on the counter, and Kion Etete played it to Alfie May, whose shot was deflected. Chapman initially made the save, but the rebound sat perfectly for Wright to slot into the back of the net.
May had a chance for the hosts in first-half stoppage time. Reeves misplaced his pass on the halfway line allowing the forward to get towards the penalty area. However, it cleared the crossbar.
HALF-TIME: Cheltenham Town 1-1 Gillingham
Wright had the first chance of the second half as he shot from distance. It was a low-drilled effort, but Chapman got down to claim it.
Reeves forced Evans to palm away from a free-kick in the 58th minute. He curled it towards the goal, and the Cheltenham keeper needed to be set and alert to push it clear.
Moments later, Reeves put Gills in front with a fantastic goal. Oliver got onto the end of Thompson’s cross and played it into the path of Reeves. The midfielder did brilliantly curling the ball towards the far corner, giving Evans little chance of getting to it.
Olly Lee almost made it three as his free-kick somehow stayed out. It was from a tight angle, and he elected to drill it as hard as he could goalward. It cannoned off of the crossbar and bounced out with too much power on it for Tucker to convert the rebound.
In the 71st minute, Chapman pulled off a magnificent save to deny Will Boyle. A cross was played in by Sean Long, and Boyle rose highest to direct his header goalward. Chapman was moving to his left with the header going right, and he somehow clawed the ball over the crossbar.
In the 78th minute, Etete brought Cheltenham level. Sercombe’s corner was played towards the back post, and Sean Long headed it back across the goal. Etete managed to get himself free to head home from six yards out.
May came close to turning the game around for the hosts. A long ball forward allowed the striker to get in behind. He was held up by Max Ehmer and then he tried to find the top corner. Fortunately, it blazed over the bar.
Deep into stoppage time, Conor Masterson almost became the hero. Thompson’s free-kick hit the wall and sat nicely for Masterson to shoot first-time. He did exactly that, but his effort cannoned off the post and went away from danger.
FULL-TIME: Cheltenham Town 2-2 Gillingham
Cheltenham Town: Evans, Long, Pollock, Thomas (Ramsey 62’), Sercombe, May, Boyle, Wright, Hutchinson (Freestone 83’), Bonds, Etete
Unused Substitutes: Raglan, Chapman, Lloyd, Flinders, Brown
Gillingham: Chapman, Jackson, Tucker, Ehmer, Masterson, McKenzie, Lee (Phillips 73’), Thompson, Reeves (Tutonda 81’), Oliver, Kelman
Unused Substitutes: Dahlberg, Maghoma, Akehurst, Sithole, Dickson-Peters
Referee: David Rock
Attendance: 4415 (705 Gills fans)