Points shared at the Mazuma Stadium.
Ryan Jackson’s stunning strike was cancelled out by a smart Jonathan Obika goal as Gills came away with a point following a 1-1 draw at the Mazuma Stadium.
Jackson was subbed on just after the hour, and 12 minutes later, he gave Gillingham the lead. He ran onto Vadaine Oliver’s cross field pass and found himself 20 yards from goal. After some encouragement, he decided to shoot. Jackson’s strike found the top corner as he left Trevor Carson with no chance.
Obika, also a sub, levelled after he managed to turn a defender before curling into the bottom corner giving Aaron Chapman little opportunity of a save.
However, it was Chapman that became the late hero as he pulled off two magnificent saves to deny Jonah Ayunga and Obika to secure a hard-fought point.
Neil Harris made one change to the team that beat Cambridge United in midweek as Norwich City loanee Tom Dickson-Peters made his first start for the club. Charlie Kelman dropped to the bench, while academy player Josh Chambers retained his spot with the substitutes.
The hosts had a couple of huge chances to take an early lead in what was a scrappy spell inside the Gills penalty area. A free-kick into the box found its way to Jonah Ayunga, who was in a good amount of space. However, his attempt to direct the ball goalward was immediately blocked by Max Ehmer.
Morecambe won the second ball, and it was crossed over towards the back post, where Cole Stockton headed it into the path of Anthony O’Connor. Fortunately, he looped it over the crossbar.
Conor Masterson had Gillingham’s first opportunity of the game in the 11th minute. Stuart O’Keefe played the ball to the QPR loanee, who had space to shoot, and he decided to try his luck from 25 yards. However, his effort went a few yards wide of the target.
A nice passage of play allowed Ben Thompson to have a good opportunity moments later. Dickson-Peters did well to knock it down into the path of Thompson, who struck it first time. Unfortunately, he could not find the target as it went wide to the goalkeeper's right.
In the 17th minute, it took a vital Jack Tucker block to deny Cole Stockton. Another free-kick caused the Gills defence trouble, and after some head tennis, it fell to Stockton. He looked to fire a strong shot towards the goal, but Tucker came sliding in to bravely block the attempt, thus taking all of the power out of it.
Stuart O’Keefe was the next man to come close in what was an action-packed opening 20 minutes. Gills broke forward, and it opened up for O’Keefe to shoot from 25 yards. His effort took a deflection and looped up and over the bar onto the roof of the net.
Masterson came close again after an adventurous run into the Morecambe penalty area. Robbie McKenzie was the first defender to try breaking into the box but went down under some contact. The second ball fell to Masterson, who tricked his way beyond the Morecambe defence before firing a strong shot towards Trevor Carson’s near post. The hosts' goalkeeper did well to get down and push it away from the danger zone.
Arthur Gnahoua came inches away from giving Morecambe the lead in the 37th minute. A quick counter-attack from a Gills corner allowed them to have space inside the visiting penalty area. It eventually fell to Gnahoua, who fired a powerful effort towards the goal, which cannoned off the crossbar and went out for a goal-kick.
Gills went down the other end and had a golden opportunity of their own. Some nice build-up play allowed Olly Lee to direct a cross field pass towards the back post. Vadaine Oliver headed it down towards McKenzie, but he could not generate enough power on his effort as Carson comfortably claimed the shot.
Ayunga forced Chapman into his first save of note in the 42nd minute. Ayunga tried his luck from 25 yards, which was aimed towards the bottom corner. Chapman did well to get down to it and comfortably saved it.
HALF-TIME: Morecambe 0-0 Gillingham
David Tutonda was replaced just after the hour by Ryan Jackson with the left-back on a yellow card.
After the hour, Gills were fortunate to escape a big opportunity for the Shrimpers. A cross into the box found Stockton in space. He stuck his leg out to get on the end of it, but it proved to be a poor touch as it bounced off him and into the direction of Chapman.
In the 73rd minute, Jackson put Gills in front with a stunning strike. Oliver broke up the field, and he played the ball across the pitch into the path of Jackson, who ran onto it. He was encouraged to shoot from a little over 20 yards, and he did exactly that. His right-footed effort cannoned into the top corner giving Carson little chance of getting to it.
Moments later, Gills had another good chance. They slowly built their way up the pitch before Masterson played Jackson down the right-hand side. He lofted a cross deep into the penalty area for Oliver to meet. The Gills forward did well to jump highest, but his header went over the bar.
Jonathan Obika brought Morecambe back onto level terms in the 84th minute. The ball was played towards the feet of the forward, who did well to turn his man before curling a shot towards the bottom corner.
In the final minutes of regulation, Ayunga had a massive chance to give Morecambe the lead. A cross into the box sat perfectly for the forward in an excellent position. However, Chapman came out to bravely close down the effort and pulled off the save.
Obika almost had his second moments later. He was free inside the penalty area, and he received the ball in acres of space. He struck a strong effort across the goal towards Chapman’s far corner. It looked destined for the back of the net, but the Gills keeper did incredibly to get a hand onto it to keep it out.
FULL-TIME: Morecambe 1-1 Gillingham
Morecambe: Carson, Leigh, O’Connor, Bedeau, Diagouraga, Stockton, Ayunga, Phillips (Wildig 65’), McLoughlin, Cooney, Gnahoua (Obika 74’)
Unused Substitutes: Smith, Connolly, McCalmont, Fane, Bennett
Gillingham: Chapman, Masterson, Ehmer, Tucker, McKenzie, O’Keefe, Thompson, Lee (Phillips 77’), Tutonda (Jackson 61’), Oliver, Dickson-Peters (Kelman 86’)
Unused Substitutes: Dahlberg, Lintott, Maghoma, Chambers
Referee: Peter Wright
Attendance: 4499 (279 Gills fans)