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Cheltenham Town 2 Gillingham 2: Vadaine Oliver and Ben Reeves on target for the Gills at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium but Callum Wright and Kion Etete score for the hosts

Gillingham are out of the League 1 relegation zone but twice let a lead slip at Cheltenham Town.

Vadaine Oliver’s early opener was cancelled out by Callum Wright, Ben Reeves fired the visitors back infront after the break but Kion Etete levelled it up again at 2-2 with 12 minutes left.

Gillingham manager Neil Harris Picture: KPI
Gillingham manager Neil Harris Picture: KPI

Gillingham almost won it with five minutes of stoppage-time played as Conor Masterson struck the post from 20 yards out.

Their captain Stuart O’Keefe was unable to play because of a knee injury and that meant Reeves coming into midfield.

Reeves played a key role in the opening goal against their mid-table hosts, which the Gills scored in the 14th minute. The goal came from a corner after Ryan Jackson’s low shot had been well saved by home keeper Owen Evans.

Olly Lee’s flag kick was cleared but when Reeves sent a looping header back in, Robbie McKenzie got a flick and that dropped for Oliver, well placed to prod the ball home.

Gillingham continued to be the better of the sides and only another fine save from Evans kept Reeves out, the midfielder spun onto the ball from Jackson’s long throw but his volley that looked to be creeping inside the post was kept out.

Cheltenham worked their way back into the game, and Liam Sercombe almost guided a low shot home, but was denied by Aaron Chapman’s outstretched hand.

With 41 minutes played Cheltenham got back on level terms after breaking forward from a Jackson throw that had been headed clear. Etete surged into the Gills half, with a one-two from Alfie May. Etete offloaded for May, who had his shot saved by Chapman’s legs, but Wright was quickest to react and he picked his spot.

May put another effort over the bar in stoppage-time after Reeves had lost the ball. Gillingham needed the break to regroup.

Callum Wright’s low shot early in the second half was smothered by Gills keeper Chapman as the hosts started on the front foot.

Oliver headed wide for Gills as he stretched to meet Jackson’s cross and they got another chance just before the hour when Charlie Kelman was dragged down on the edge of the box. Reeves whipped the free-kick in and Evans punched clear.

Moments later Reeves found the net, curling the ball home from just inside the box with 59 minutes gone.

Lee nearly made it three with a free-kick that he swung in but the ball glanced off the crossbar and Charlie Kelman, lurking at the far post, was unable to get a touch.

Cheltenham weren’t finished and substitute Aaron Ramsey took too long over his chance inside the box, allowing Jack Tucker and Max Ehmer to both slide in and make the block.

Chapman stuck out a big hand to deny Cheltenham captain Will Boyle as they looked to get on level terms again.

They did make it 2-2 with 78 minutes gone, scoring from a corner. Sercombe played it out to Sean Long at the far post and when he nodded it back into the middle Eete was there to head home.

May wasn’t far away from putting Cheltenham infront for the first time with a curling effort but Gillingham came closest to the winner when Thompson’s free-kick hit the wall and came out for Masterson, who fired back in but was denied by the upright. Gills kept it alive and Oliver went wide with a spectacular overhead kick.

Cheltenham: Evans, Long, Pollock, Thomas (Ramsey 62mins), Sercombe, May, Boyle, Wright, Hutchinson (Freestone 83mins), Bonds, Etete. Subs not used: Raglan, Chapman, Lloyd, Flinders, Brown.

Gillingham: Chapman, McKenzie, Jackson, Ehmer, Tucker, Masterson, Thompson, Lee (Phillips 74mins), Reeves (Tutonda 81mins), Oliver, Kelman. Subs not used: Dahlberg, Dickson-Peters, Sithole, Maghoma, Akehurst.

Referee: David Rock

Attendance: 4,415 (705 away)

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