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Match Reports

Report | Gillingham 1-0 Doncaster Rovers

Tom Nichols proves the match winner as Gills defeat Doncaster 1-0 at ME7.

7 April 2023

Match Reports

Report | Gillingham 1-0 Doncaster Rovers

Tom Nichols proves the match winner as Gills defeat Doncaster 1-0 at ME7.

7 April 2023

Gills record their eighth win in nine home games as Tom Nichols fires home a first-half stunner.

Tom Nichols’ first-half volley proved to be the match-winner as Gillingham beat Doncaster Rovers 1-0 at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Good Friday.

The goal came in the 44th minute after Oli Hawkins flicked on Robbie McKenzie’s long throw. It fell perfectly for Nichols to volley the ball first-time on his left foot across the goal and beyond Jonathan Mitchell.

Doncaster searched for an equaliser in the second half, but the Gills limited the visitors to half-chances as they closed out the 1-0 win.

Neil Harris made one change to the side that lost at Barrow with Oli Hawkins replacing Tristan Abrahams, who dropped to the bench. Lewis Page was named in the matchday squad for the first time as a Gillingham player.

Gills had a good chance in the opening minutes. Alex MacDonald’s corner towards the back post saw Tom Nichols move into space unmarked after Max Ehmer did well to hold off two defenders. Nichols headed it goalward but could not hit the target as it floated over the crossbar.

Glenn Morris did well to react quickly in denying Ben Close in the 15th minute. The ball fell to Close 20 yards from the goal, and he struck a low-driven effort first-time towards the bottom corner. Fortunately, Morris got down to push it wide of the post for a corner, which came to nothing.

Gillingham’s hearts were in their mouths as Doncaster came close to taking the lead in the 34th minute. Ben Nelson headed the ball goalward, and it beat Morris. Fortunately, there was a Gills player on the line, who headed the ball onto the bar before the hosts eventually took the ball up the pitch.

In the 44th minute, Nichols volleyed the Gills in front. Robbie McKenzie’s long throw from the left was flicked on by Hawkins towards Nichols, who was in space. The forward thumped his left-footed volley across the goal and beyond Jonathan Mitchell, leaving him with no chance of keeping it out.

During first-half stoppage time, Gills were forced into a first substitution, as Will Wright replaced Conor Masterson. The QPR loanee had suffered a head injury earlier in the first half, which required treatment and a change of shirt. Despite trying to battle through the problem, the defender could not continue.

 

HALF-TIME: Gillingham 1-0 Doncaster Rovers

 

For large spells of the opening 25 minutes of the second half, the Gills were embroiled in a midfield battle with the visitors as they looked to find a way back into the game. However, Gillingham were doing well to limit Doncaster’s opportunities as they went in search of an equaliser.

Close had a good chance in the 72nd minute. The ball was pulled back in the direction of Aidan Barlow, who stepped over the ball. It allowed Close to shoot first-time from 20 yards, but it was a comfortable save for Morris, who got down to make the save.

In the 77th minute, Gillingham made a double substitution. George Lapslie and Dom Jefferies replaced Aiden O’Brien and MacDonald respectively.

Moments later, Lapslie almost made an immediate impact. Jefferies played the ball to the midfielder inside the box, but Lapslie’s first touch took him towards a tight angle as he directed an effort goalward. It stung the palms of Mitchell, but the goalkeeper gathered the ball at the second attempt.

Kieran Agard, on as a sub, had a good opportunity as the ball was played down the right for the striker to run onto. However, his first-time effort could not hit the target as it flashed wide of the post.

With three minutes of normal time remaining, Ehmer came close. A corner into the box was headed back into the cluster of players by Timothee Dieng, and it eventually fell to Ehmer to head goalward. A Doncaster player attempted to clear the ball but could not make clear contact as he sliced it backwards and just wide of the post.

During stoppage time, Page made his Gillingham debut as he replaced Nichols, and Abrahams came on for Hawkins.

Kyle Hurst had a good half-chance in the final moments of the game. Some good link-up play by Doncaster meant that Hurst could make a late run to get in behind the Gillingham defenders. Fortunately, he dragged his shot wide of the far post leaving Morris untroubled.

 

FULL-TIME: Gillingham 1-0 Doncaster Rovers

 

Gillingham: Morris, Alexander, Ehmer, Masterson (Wright 45’), McKenzie, Williams, Dieng, MacDonald (Jefferies 77’), O’Brien (Lapslie 76’), Hawkins (Abrahams 90’), Nichols (Page 90’)

Unused Substitutes: Holtam, Coleman

Doncaster Rovers: Mitchell, Nelson, Faulkner, Long, Seaman (Brown 66’), Close, Barlow, Molyneux, Rowe (Ravenhill 66’), Goodman (Agard 66’), Westbrooke (Hurst 90’)

Unused Substitutes: Bottomley, Miller, Degruchy

 

Referee: Dean Whitestone

Attendance: 6842 (192 away supporters)


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