Gills secure hard-fought point at home to promotion chasing Stockport.
George Lapslie’s second-half strike was cancelled out by Will Collar’s late header as Gillingham and Stockport drew 1-1 at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
Lapslie fired Gillingham in front in the 54th minute. Cheye Alexander’s cross from the right took a fortunate deflection and sat for Lapslie to shoot on the turn and beyond Ben Hinchcliffe.
In the final minutes of normal time, Stockport equalised through Collar. Kyle Knoyle’s cross from the right was won by the Stockport man, whose header looped beyond Morris and into the back of the net despite the best efforts of Max Ehmer.
Neil Harris made two changes to the side that lost at Northampton on Easter Monday, as Conor Masterson started in the place of Will Wright, who dropped to the bench. Alex MacDonald returned to the starting XI, while Oli Hawkins missed out due to illness.
MacDonald had a brilliant opportunity to give Gillingham the lead in the seventh minute. The midfielder took advantage of Neill Byrne’s clearance and tried to drill a low-driven effort into the far bottom corner. However, Ben Hinchcliffe did well to save with his feet.
Tom Nichols forced Hinchcliffe into a save in the 27th minute. Robbie McKenzie did brilliantly bringing the ball into the Stockport half before playing it to Nichols inside the penalty area. The forward set himself before curling a shot towards the top corner, but Hinchcliffe was equal to it as he got across to palm the effort away.
HALF-TIME: Gillingham 0-0 Stockport County
Max Ehmer had the first chance of the second half. Stockport could not clear their lines and it fell to Ehmer, who saw his initial effort blocked. He was first to react to the second ball and got a shot away from 20 yards. However, he fired his shot wide of the post.
Myles Hippolyte forced Glenn Morris into a save moments later. Paddy Madden, who came on at half-time, played it to Hippolyte, who struck it on his left foot. Morris moved to his left as the ball swerved to his right, but he got a hand on it to push it over the crossbar.
Cheye Alexander was denied by a great save in the 53rd minute. Gills did well to work the ball into the penalty area, and Nichols laid it off for Alexander to strike first time. His low-driven effort was well-saved by Hinchcliffe.
Moments later, George Lapslie fired Gillingham in front. The hosts did well to regain possession, and Alexander played a cross into the box. Stockport could not deal with it, and a fortunate bounce took it into Lapslie’s path. He shot on the turn and drilled his effort beyond Hinchcliffe.
Stockport had a good half-chance in the 83rd minute. Will Collar drilled the ball into the penalty area with a cluster of Stockport players looking to knock it goalward. Fraser Horsfall got the final touch, but it went wide of the post.
In the 89th minute, Collar headed Stockport back level. Kyle Knoyle crossed the ball from the right, and Collar was the one that got his head on it. He looped his header across the goal and into the far corner as it got the better of Morris. Ehmer tried to clear it off the line but could not get there in time.
In stoppage time, Gills had a penalty claim as Tristan Abrahams went down inside the penalty area. Despite the appeals from Abrahams and the home supporters, the referee ignored those claims.
Tim Dieng found the back of the net minutes later, but the referee awarded a free-kick to the visitors. Shaun Williams hooked the ball back into the danger zone, and Dieng looped his header towards the far corner. Unfortunately, the referee blew his whistle for a foul instead.
With the game heading towards full-time, Morris had to be alert to deny Madden. Stockport broke forward, and the ball came to the sub, who struck it from the edge of the box. The Gillingham goalkeeper did well to get down and get a solid hand on the ball. The rebound looked as if it would fall favourably for Stockport, with multiple players closing in, but Will Wright produced an excellent sliding challenge to deny the visitors.
FULL-TIME: Gillingham 1-1 Stockport County
Gillingham: Morris, Alexander, Ehmer, Masterson, McKenzie, Williams, Dieng, Jefferies (Coleman 81’), MacDonald (Wright 80’), Lapslie, Nichols (Abrahams 86’)
Unused Substitutes: Turner, Page, Clarke
Stockport County: Hinchcliffe, Knoyle, Wright (Camps 64’), Horsfall, Byrne (Hussey 46’), Rydel (Johnson 75’), Collar, Croasdale (Olaofe 75’), Hippolyte, Stretton (Madden 46’), Wootton
Unused Substitutes: Jaros, Evans
Referee: Martin Woods
Attendance: 5810 (519 visiting supporters)