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Blackpool 1 Gillingham 1 – League 1 match report

Tom Eaves headed home a 90th minute equaliser for the Gills at Blackpool.

Kyle Vassell had fired home the opener for the Seasiders late in the first half.

Gillingham had won their previous three games away from home in the league and had to settle for a point from their long trek north on Tuesday night.

Tom Eaves heads the ball and the keeper to grab a late equaliser for Gillingham Picture: Barry Goodwin
Tom Eaves heads the ball and the keeper to grab a late equaliser for Gillingham Picture: Barry Goodwin

Mark Byrne was the only change to the side that kicked off at Walsall on Saturday. He replaced suspended defender Max Ehmer.

Boss Steve Lovell opted for four at the back, with Luke O’Neill the left-sided full-back and Sean Clare continuing his defensive duties on the right.

Gills’ defence faced a stern test as lively winger Viv Solomon-Otabor looked to run at them whenever he got the ball.

Reaction: Positive Gills delight manager Steve Lovell

Just seconds into the start of the game Blackpool went close when O’Neill struggled to clear a long ball forward, with Sean Longstaff going just wide.

Both sides put a number of opportunities wide but Blackpool looked the most likely to open the scoring.

It took them 42 minutes to get on the scoresheet. Kelvin Mellor nipped past O’Neill and laid the ball off for Vassell. The first shot was blocked by Gabriel Zakuani but he then fired the second home from the edge of the box.

Prior to that Zakuani had put a great chance wide for the Gills, with a diving header and both Josh Parker and Conor Wilkinson were both close to diverting a vicious Lee Martin cross into the goal.

A 1-0 half-time lead for Blackpool was about right.

Wilkinson dragged a shot wide for the Gills early in the second half.

Blackpool looked likely to add a second as the game approached the hour mark, with a flurry of chances. Holy, preferring to use his fists to clear throughout the evening, just about got behind a Solomon-Otabor shot and then watched as Vassell stabbed another effort wide.

Callum Cooke also went close, hitting a shot just past the post.

The Gills switched to wing-backs and began to put pressure on the home goal, going close through Wilkinson, after a couple of home defenders got in a tangle.

Both teams needed to sharpen up their finishing and Daniel put a good opportunity wide at the other end.

Gillingham kept pushing for an equaliser and with a minute left put big defender Ben Nugent upfront. But it was big striker Eaves he rose high to head home O’Neill’s cross with 30 seconds of normal time remaining, for his eighth of the season.

Eaves had another chance in stoppage-time, saved by keeper Ryan Allsop.

Blackpool: Allsop, Mellor, Aimson, Vassell (Menga 77mins), Longstaff, Tilt, Soloman-Otabor (Gnanduillet 87mins), Turton, Daniel, Cooke (D’Almeida 77mins), Spearing. Subs: Williams, Taylor, Ryan, Delfouneso.

Gillingham: Holy, Clare, O’Neill, Ogilvie, Zakuani, Byrne (Nugent 89mins), Hessenthaler (List 81mins), Martin, Parker, Eaves, Wilkinson (Wagstaff 77mins). Subs: Nelson, Oldaker, Chapman, Cundle.

Attendance: 2,650 (145 away)

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