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Report | Gillingham 2-2 Swindon Town

Swindon strike deep in stoppage time to deprive Gillingham of all three points at Priestfield.

13 February 2024

Match Reports

Report | Gillingham 2-2 Swindon Town

Swindon strike deep in stoppage time to deprive Gillingham of all three points at Priestfield.

13 February 2024

Gills deprived of victory late on at Priestfield.

Harry McKirdy scored a late equaliser for Swindon as Gillingham were held to a 2-2 draw at the Priestfield Stadium on Tuesday.

Sean McGurk gave The Robins a first-half lead as he did well to get beyond a Gills defender before curling a left-footed shot into the top corner.

Oli Hawkins made it two-in-two when he guided Max Clark’s cross into the far corner of the net.

Jorge Hurtado came on at half-time and caused the visitors problems throughout the second half. His mazy run in the 78th minute saw him evade multiple Swindon challenges before he was hacked down inside the penalty area. Connor Mahoney, another half-time substitute, took the spot kick as he slotted the ball into the bottom left corner.

McKirdy broke Gillingham's hearts four minutes into stoppage time when he curled his shot into the far bottom corner.

Stephen Clemence named an unchanged starting XI and substitutes bench for the game.

It was a quiet opening quarter of an hour with neither side testing the goalkeepers. Gills got the ball into positive areas around the Swindon penalty box but could not capitalise in creating an opportunity.

Remeao Hutton almost scored against his former club in the 20th minute. He attempted to curl a left-footed cross into the penalty area, but the wind carried it goalward. It was seemingly floating into the arms of Jack Bycroft, but the ball picked up speed at the final second, forcing the Swindon goalkeeper to push it over the bar.

From the resulting corner, a slight touch kept the game goalless. Hutton curled the ball towards the six-yard area, with Tim Dieng seemingly destined to get his head on it. However, a touch from a visiting player sent it behind for a corner.

Conor Masterson thought he had given Gillingham the lead when he chested down a ball before smashing a volley beyond Bycroft. Unfortunately, the linesman had his flag raised for offside, ruling the goal out.

Moments later, McGurk gave Swindon a 24th-minute lead. He got on the end of George McEachran’s ball forward before getting beyond a defender and curling the ball into the top left corner, leaving Jake Turner rooted to his spot.

McGurk had the chance to score his second when he received the ball just outside of the penalty area, just wide to the left. He brought it onto his right foot before curling a shot goalward. Fortunately, it was central, allowing Turner to get down and parry it away before Gillingham cleared their lines.

In the 34th minute, Masterson fired over the crossbar after some good build-up play. Gills had the ball on the left before Oli Hawkins poked it towards Jonny Williams, who was quick to give it to Hutton in space. The right wing-back cut it back for Masterson on the edge of the penalty area, who sent a first-time effort over the crossbar.

Paul Glatzel had a great chance to double the visitors' advantage. Williams Kokolo put in a cross from the left, which carried plenty of pace. It found the unmarked Glatzel, who thumped a volley towards the goal. Fortunately, it had too much power as he cleared the goal with his shot.

Josh Walker had a huge opportunity to level the score in the 42nd minute. Hawkins sent the ball into the penalty area, and Walker did well to beat the offside trap. However, he could not get a shot away, and the ball bounced inside the box. He beat the oncoming Bycroft to the ball, but his header was saved before the Swindon goalkeeper gathered the second ball.

Gillingham had Shad Ogie to thank during first-half stoppage time. Glatzel got on the end of a through ball, which saw him one-on-one with Turner. The forward rounded the Gills goalkeeper and looked destined to score. However, Ogie came flying in out of nowhere to produce a sensational tackle, taking the ball away from Glatzel. However, Ogie came out on the wrong side of the challenge and remained down, receiving treatment for what appeared to be a leg injury.


HALF-TIME: Gillingham 0-1 Swindon Town


Gills made two changes at the break as Connor Mahoney replaced Ogie, who could not continue. Jorge Hurtado came on for Walker.

Aaron Drinan, on for the visitors, did well to get beyond Max Ehmer before delivering a cross from the right. It dropped to the unmarked Charlie Austin, who fired over from just inside the penalty area.

Masterson thought he had brought Gillingham level on the hour. A decent ball found the defender, who was in acres of space inside the six-yard box. He looked destined to score but floated his header against the underside of the crossbar before it bounced clear of the goal, and the visitors cleared their lines.

Swindon went down the other end and thought they were going to score a second. Glatzel did well to break into the box before slotting his shot underneath the oncoming Turner. However, Hutton came out of nowhere to produce an excellent last-ditch sliding challenge to clear it off the line.

Hawkins brought Gillingham level in the 68th minute. After his initial header hit the foot of the post, Max Clark just about kept the ball in play on the left byline before floating a cross towards Hawkins. The striker rose the highest to guide a header beyond Bycroft and into the left corner of the net.

In the 74th minute, Scott Malone replaced Jonny Williams.

Moments later, Ehmer was on hand to deny the visitors. A cross from the right dropped to an unmarked Harry McKirdy inside the penalty area, who beat Turner with his effort. However, Ehmer was on the line to head clear before Gillingham cleared the second ball.

In the 78th minute, some individual brilliance from Hurtado won the hosts a penalty. The striker received the ball just inside the Swindon half, going on a mazy run towards the box. The Colombian loanee evaded several challenges before getting into the area, where he was eventually brought down, leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot.

Mahoney stepped up to take the spot kick, remaining composed as he slotted it into the bottom left corner, with Bycroft guessing the right way.

Gills made a double substitution in the 84th minute, as Robbie McKenzie and George Lapslie replaced Dieng and Hawkins respectively.

Masterson thought he had put the game to bed, but was once again ruled out for offside. Hutton curled a cross from the left into the penalty area, which found the head of the unmarked centre-back. He guided his header into the far corner, but the linesman was quick to raise his flag.

McKirdy levelled the score deep into stoppage time when his low-driven shot from 20 yards ran through a sea of bodies before ending up in the back of the net.

Ethan Coleman had a great chance moments later as he rose the highest from a corner. Unfortunately, his header drifted wide of the far post.

Gills thought they had won it at the end when Mahoney’s corner ricocheted goalward. Bycroft showed fantastic reflexes to push the ball over the bar, with that being the final action of the game. 


FULL-TIME: Gillingham 2-2 Swindon Town


Gillingham: Turner, Hutton, Masterson, Ehmer, Ogie (Mahoney 46’), Clark, Coleman, Dieng (McKenzie 84’), J. Williams (Malone 74’), Hawkins (Lapslie 84’), Walker (Hurtado 46’)

Unused Substitutes: Morris, Nadesan


Swindon Town: Bycroft, Godwin-Malife, McCarthy, Blake-Tracy, Cain (Drinan 46’), Devoy, McEachran (Brewitt 84’), Kokolo, Glatzel (Elbouzedi 70’), Austin (Hepburn-Murphy 63’), McGurk (McKirdy 62’)

Unused Substitutes: Brann, Minturn


Referee: Declan Bourne

Attendance: 6096 (264 away fans)

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