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Gillingham 2 AFC Wimbledon 2 – League 1 match report

By Luke Cawdell

Gillingham made it back to back home draws despite twice taking the lead against Wimbledon.

The Gills went ahead courtesy of an own-goal but Lyle Taylor levelled from the penalty spot.

Max Ehmer restored Gills’ lead but Harry Forrester equalised late on.

Sean Clare up against former Gills man Andy Barcham Picture: Andy Jones

It was a big day for 20-year-old striker Greg Cundle, making his first start in the Football League. His seven previous league appearances had come off the bench.

Reaction: We deserved to win, says Gills boss Steve Lovell

His appearance, playing inbehind a front two, was a part of a restructure upfront for the Gills. Boxing Day goalscorer Conor Wilkinson got the nod to partner Josh Parker while top scorer Tom Eaves was relegated to the subs’ bench.

Captain Lee Martin missed out through illness.

Conor Wilkinson in action against AFC WImbledon Picture: Andy Jones

With few goalscoring efforts in the opening half, however, Eaves replaced Cundle early in the second.

The Gills were up against plenty of familiar faces, none more so than former striker Cody McDonald, making his first return to Priestfield and getting a great pre-game reception from the home fans.

Wimbledon had the better of the first half chances, although it was far from a thriller. McDonald got in behind and forced a save from Holy, denying the former Gills man with his leg.

Josh Parker battles for possession Picture: Andy Jones

Holy also had to be alert to get behind a snap shot from Taylor on the edge of the box. The Gills keeper had earlier been penalised for handling out of his box, but the visitors were unable to capitalise, with the free-kick being deflected over.

Cundle and Wilkinson had shots blocked while Parker headed straight at keeper George Long, who dealt with that and a Sean Clare effort from distance with relative ease.

Holy got behind an early Taylor effort after the turnaround and Lovell was quick to change things for the Gills. Eaves replaced Cundle just seven minutes after the restart.

Wimbledon continued to have the better chances, McDonald hitting a Taylor corner just wide from close range.

Jake Hessenthaler gets in a challenge for Gills Picture: Andy Jones

Parker raced away to create an opportunity for the Gills but Wilkinson glanced the eventual cross wide of the goal.

The Gills took a 62 minute lead when Sean Clare’s free-kick was headed in by Wimbledon player George Francomb, over the reach of keeper Long.

It was all square from a controversial penalty, with O’Neill harshly adjudged to have fouled McDonald in the box. Holy went the right way but couldn’t keep out Taylor’s spot-kick.

Gillingham striker Conor Wilkinson takes a tumble Picture: Andy Jones

Three minutes later and the Gills were back infront. Clare’s corner found its way to the back post where Ehmer was on hand to guide it over the line. Those three goals had come in an eight-minute spell.

Wimbledon made it 2-2 with six minutes left, Oshilaja finding Forrester in the box from a corner and the sub blasted home past Holy.

Tom Eaves sent a stoppage time header narrowly wide for the Gills as they had to settle for another home point.

Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Ogilvie, Ehmer, Zakuani, Byrne, Hessenthaler (Garmston 81mins), Clare, Parker, Wilkinson (Nash 85mins), Cundle (Eaves 54mins). Subs not used: Nelson, Lacey, Nugent, Oldaker.

AFC Wimbledon: Long, Meades (Nightingale 86mins), Oshilaja, Francomb, Abdou, Trotter, Barcham (Kennedy 90mins), Hartigan (Forrester 72mins), Charles, Taylor, McDonald. Subs not used: McDonnell, Soares, Kaja, Egan.

Attendance: 6,419 (687 away)

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