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Cody McDonald challenges Wolves captain Sam Ricketts Pic: Barry Goodwin
Cody McDonald challenges Wolves captain Sam Ricketts Pic: Barry Goodwin

Gillingham struck an injury-time winner against Wolves at Priestfleld on Friday night.

In the second and final minute of injury-time Cody McDonald smashed home infront of the Rainham End.

The Gills almost won it moments before that, as Danny Kedwell struck the woodwork, with a vicious shot.

It was a crucial three points for the Gills against a side tipped for promotion this season.

Gills boss Peter Taylor, celebrating his 61 birthday, made just one change to his starting XI, as Charlie Lee came in for the injured Chris Whelpdale.

While the Gills sat out New Year’s Day, following the postponement of their game in Stevenage, their visitors to Priestfield had faced Tranmere. They made five changes following a 1-1 draw.

Wolves came into the game sitting second in League 1 but, like the Gills, had only won one of their previous six league games. They handed keeper Aaron McCarey his first league start for the club at Priestfield.

The Gills failed to trouble the keeper in the first half though, despite Cody McDonald looking bright. He was lining up in attack alongside Kedwell, who had opted not to go under the knife, despite being booked in for an operation on Thursday.

Wolves had the best of the first half chances but despite the corner count rising to seven and several shots going in on goal, the Gills stood firm.

Leon Legge deflected one effort just wide of the Gills goal and Wolves failed to find the net after Nelson missed a punch, resulting in a goal-mouth scramble.

Charlie Lee and Kedwell both put early second half efforts into the Rainham End as the rain came down at Priestfield, with conditions not helped by a strong swirling wind.

Michael Jacobs curled an effort high and wide at the other end, into the fans housed in the exposed Town End.

Bradley Dack was introduced for Lee early in the second half and it didn’t take him long to get involved. He did well to create a chance for McDonald and the Gills striker was only denied by a good low save from McCarey.

With an hour gone both managers changed their attack, with Leigh Griffiths coming on for the visitor and Adebayo Aknfenwa joining the Gills attack.

The changes failed to make an instant impact in attack, with Wolves’ Bakary Sako smashing a shot well over for the visitors.

Danny Kedwell faces several more weeks out Picture: Barry Goodwin
Danny Kedwell faces several more weeks out Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gillingham’s best chance came with eight minutes left, as Kedwell used his strength to fend off a defender and then strike low, with a shot that bounced off the post.

With three minutes left Nelson made a great save to deny Griffiths, as the Wolves striker headed at goal point-blank, but the linesman’s flag was up for off-side anyway. Moments later Leon Legge was forced to clear off the line as the visitors threatened.

With seconds left a corner from Jake Hessenthaler ran for McDonald and he smashed the ball home, to the delight of the home fans.

Gillingham: Nelson, Harriman, Martin, Legge, Barrett, Gregory, Hessenthaler, Lee (Dack 51mins), Fagan (Akinfenwa 65mins), Kedwell, McDonald. Subs not used: Howard, Davies, Linganzi, Marriott, Daniels.

Wolves: McCarey, Elokobi, Edwards, Batth, Henry (Griffiths 62mins), Sako, McDonald, Ricketts, Golbourne, Jacobs, Doyle (Cassidy 74mins). Subs not used: Davis, Evans, Ibiekwe, Foley, Flatt.

Attendance: 7,758

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