Gills suffer late heartache as Robbie Gotts strikes in the fourth minute of stoppage time to give Barrow victory in Cumbria.
Robbie Gotts’ last-gasp winner broke Gillingham's hearts as Barrow won 2-1 at the SO Legal Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Ben Whitfield saw his effort from just outside the penalty area blocked, and the rebound fell perfectly for Gotts to smash an effort into the top left corner.
Barrow took the lead in the ninth minute as Josh Gordon’s volley was cleared off the line by Max Ehmer, but it came off the back of Glenn Morris before going into the back of the net.
Gills equalised in the 81st minute through Conor Masterson. Alex MacDonald floated his corner into a central area, and Masterson did well to get away from his marker before thumping a header beyond Paul Farman.
Neil Harris made one change to the side that beat promotion-chasing Carlisle, as Tristan Abrahams came into the starting XI in place of Oli Hawkins, who dropped to the bench. Taite Holtam and Dom Jefferies missed out, while Jake Turner returned to the matchday squad.
Barrow almost took the lead in the opening seconds through Sam Foley. Gills could not clear their lines, and the ball sat for Foley to strike it first time. Fortunately, it went wide of Glenn Morris’ goal.
In the ninth minute, the hosts took the lead. They caught Gillingham on the counter-attack, and Tyrell Warren’s cross into the box made its way across to Patrick Brough, who had his shot well saved by Morris. The rebound fell to Josh Gordon, who volleyed it goalward. Max Ehmer cleared it off the line, but unfortunately, it came off the back of Morris before bouncing into the back of the net.
Josh Kay did well to create a chance in the 25th minute. Paul Farman caught Robbie McKenzie’s cross, and Kay began his run, sprinting into acres of space. The Barrow goalkeeper kicked in the direction of the forward, who made his way towards the penalty area before cutting inside on his left foot. However, his effort was comfortably saved.
Moments later, Kay almost made it two. Barrow continued to apply pressure on the Gillingham goal as the ball sat favourably for the forward to blast the ball towards Morris. The visiting keeper did brilliantly to stand tall and keep the effort out before the Gills eventually cleared.
Shortly before half-time, there was a moment of panic for Gillingham. A ball into the box was played into a position for Morris to claim the ball. He went to punch it but could not make clear contact as the ball came off the head of a Barrow player. The ball bounced goalward, but Ehmer was on hand to clear away.
HALF-TIME: Barrow AFC 1-0 Gillingham
At half-time, Gillingham made two substitutions, as David Tutonda and Oli Hawkins replaced Cheye Alexander and Tristan Abrahams.
Tom Nichols had a good opportunity as Gillingham started the second half brightly. A throw into the penalty area bounced for Nichols, who chested it down before shooting on the turn. However, he could not get it on target as it went wide of Farman’s near post.
Gills came close to equalising as Farman’s attempted punch of Alex MacDonald’s cross was missed, and it went to the back post. It hit the foot of a Barrow player to send it goalward, but Foley got back to clear the ball away as it trickled towards the goal.
Morris made a huge save to deny Gordon with 13 minutes remaining. Foley lofted the ball over to Gordon, who had space to move inside the penalty area. The striker got an inch of space before shooting across the goal. Morris did well to get down and push it away from the danger before Gillingham dealt with the second ball.
In the 81st minute, Conor Masterson brought Gillingham back level. MacDonald floated a corner from the right into the middle of the penalty area, where Masterson got away from his marker before thumping a header beyond Farman in the centre of the goal.
In the final seconds, Robbie Gotts scored for Barrow. Gills dealt with the initial corner, but the ball was sent back to Ben Whitfield, who cut inside before shooting from just outside the box in a central position. His effort was blocked, but the second ball fell to Gotts, who struck it with plenty of power as it flew across the goal into the left corner, leaving Morris helpless.
FULL-TIME: Barrow AFC 2-1 Gillingham
Barrow: Farman, Warren, McCelland (Feely 90’), Canavan, Ray, Brough, White, Neal (Whitfield 86’), Foley (Young 85’), Kay (Gotts 70’), Gordon
Unused Substitutes: Lillis, Newby
Gillingham: Morris, Alexander (Tutonda 46’), Ehmer, Masterson, McKenzie (Wright 77’), Williams, MacDonald, Dieng (Lapslie 72’), O’Brien, Abrahams (Hawkins 46’), Nichols (Coleman 90’)
Unused Substitutes: Turner
Referee: Darren Handley
Attendance: 3703 (320 Gillingham supporters)