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Gillingham 1 Chesterfield 1 – League 1 match report

By Luke Cawdell

Gillingham came seconds away from victory at Priestfield.

Max Ehmer’s headed goal looked to have clinched the points for the Gills but they conceded in the 94 minute.

Rory Donnelly hit the post during a goalless first half but Ehmer gave the Gills the lead midway through the second.

Gillingham react to Chesterfield's equaliser Picture: Andy Payton

Ehmer also hit the bar but the Gills couldn’t hang on as Tom Anderson scored a stoppage-time equaliser.

Reaction: Pennock reacts with anger as the Gills throw a win away

Gills boss Ady Pennock responded to Saturday’s poor performance by making changes to his personnel and the formation.

Scott Wagstaff and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas returned to the Gills line-up for a game that was important for both teams.

It was a match-up between two sides lacking in form. The Gills hadn’t won in eight and Chesterfield had won only once in the same period.

A front two of Cody McDonald and Donnelly was supported by Emmanuel-Thomas and the Gills looked much more of a threat than they had at the weekend.

Cody McDonald with an effort at goal Picture: Andy Payton

The first half was far improved and the Gills were unlucky not to be leading at the break.

Chesterfield had an inexperienced keeper between the sticks and it showed at times, with the Gills putting early pressure on from set-pieces, but the goal just wouldn’t come.

Referee Andy Haines seemed reluctant to give the Gills a helping hand, with several decisions going against Pennock’s side. The biggest controversy came when keeper Lloyd Allinson handled outside his box but McDonald was harshly adjudged to have fouled him.

Donnelly got the closest to breaking the deadlock, with a low shot across goal that came back out off the inside of the post. Ryan Jackson’s rocket of a shot late in the half went just wide of the top corner.

The Gills struggled to replicate their first half dominance at the start of the second. It took until the 57 minute for McDonald to test Allinson with a low effort, which was saved.

Rory Donnelly close to an opener Picture: Andy Payton

Emmanuel –Thomas almost created an opener moments later, with a ball across the face of goal that just needed a touch, but nobody was there to apply the finish.

Gills’ opener finally came just seconds after almost conceding. Stuart Nelson saved when one on one with David Faupala.

Ehmer’s goal – his sixth of the season - came from a Jackson throw, with the Gills captain looping a header over Allinson for 1-0 with 67 minutes gone.

Gillingham’s defenders continued to threaten with Ehmer heading against the bar and Allinson saving a shot from Deji Oshilaja that was struck through a crowded area.

Nelson pulled off a super save to deny Osman Kakay with 10 minutes left, saving one-handed from close range. The follow-up was deflected over the bar.

But Chesterfield levelled with almost the last kick. Ian Evatt had a shot blocked and Anderson buried the loose ball.

Gillingham (4-3-1-2): Nelson, Jackson, Garmston, Ehmer, Oshilaja, Wright, Wagstaff, Donnelly, Dack (Martin 90mins), Emmanuel-Thomas (Byrne 89mins), McDonald (Parker 84mins). Subs not used: Holy, Hessenthaler, Osadebe, List.

Chesterfield (3-5-2): Allinson, Anderson, Donohue, Kakay, Evatt, Gardner (Ebanks-Blake 72mins), Nolan (Martinez 45mins), Grimshaw, Mitchell, Dennis (Simons 64mins), Faupala. Subs not used: Duke, Brown, Hird, El-Fitouri.

Attendance: 4,595 (96 away)

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