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Gillingham 1 Carlisle United 1 – FA cup round 2

By Luke Cawdell

Gillingham face an FA Cup replay in Carlisle after being held to a draw at Priestfield.

Luke O’Neill put the Gills ahead early on but Danny Grainger levelled from the penalty spot.

Gillingham had the majority of possession in the second half but couldn’t find the quality to net a winner.

Luke O'Neill scores Gills' opener after just five minutes Picture: Andy Jones
Luke O'Neill scores Gills' opener after just five minutes Picture: Andy Jones

The tie will now be decided Tuesday week at Brunton Park.

Gills boss Steve Lovell named a strong side for the cup game against League 2 opposition, naming Josh Parker and Lee Martin on the bench after knocks picked up the week before.

It meant a return to the XI for defender Max Ehmer and midfielder Scott Wagstaff.

O’Neill had been unlucky not to get the winner a week before, with a free-kick that was touched onto the woodwork, but he beat Carlisle keeper Jack Bonham in the fifth minute a Priestfield.

Conor Wilkinson on the ball for Gillingham against Carlisle Picture: Andy Jones
Conor Wilkinson on the ball for Gillingham against Carlisle Picture: Andy Jones

His free-kick was bent past the wall into the top corner, after Tom Parkes had fouled Conor Wilkinson.

It was Parkes who was then felled by Mark Byrne with 17 minutes gone and visiting captain Grainger sent Tomas Holy th wrong way with his spot-kick.

The Gills had struggled to impose themselves against a strong Carlisle defence, but improved towards the end of the half, when manager Lovell switched from a diamond in midfield to four across the middle.

Wagstaff got a lot of the ball out wide and fired a shot wide.

Scott Wagstaff looks to attack for Gillingham Picture: Andy Jones
Scott Wagstaff looks to attack for Gillingham Picture: Andy Jones

A change at the break saw Martin introduced for Clare. The manleaving the field was on a booking, which may have influenced Lovell’s thinking.

Bonham had to get behind an early Wagstaff effort in the second half, fired low and on target, but lacking sufficient power.

There were big shouts for a penalty from the Rainham End, as Martin went down in the box, but it wasn’t given.

Both Eaves and Connor Ogilvie put chances over during a promising start to the second half.

Gabriel Zakuani should be fit this weekend Picture: Andy Jones
Gabriel Zakuani should be fit this weekend Picture: Andy Jones

Wilkinson made a strong run forward but couldn’t get a shot on target. Gillingham had been in charge of the half without really testing keeper Bonham. Parker was introduced with 15 minutes left to give the visiting defence something different to think about.

Rare chances at the other end saw Dover-born James Brown shoot just wide and Reggie Lambe putting an effort into the empty Town End.

Jake Hessenthaler was also denied a penalty by referee Andy Woolmer, going down in the box under pressure. Lovell was left with arms outstretched and asking the officials why not.

Carlisle – wasting time at every opportunity – threatened the goal through Lambe but Gabriel Zakuani did well to force him into a weak shot that Holy dealt with.

Gillingham: Holy, O'Neill, Ogilvie, Ehmer, Zakuani, Clare (Martin 46mins), Byrne, Wagstaff, Hessenthaler, Eaves (Parker 74mins), Wilkinson. Subs not used: Nelson, Nugent, Oldaker, Simpson, Cundle.

Carlisle: Bonham, Grainger (T Miller 71mins), Joyce, Liddle, Parkes, Jones, Bennett (O’Sillivan 82mins), Brown, Lambe (Hope 88mins), Etuhu, Hill. Subs not used: George, Devitt, Cosgrove, S Miller.

Attendance: 3,178 (321 away)

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