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Doncaster Rovers 0 Gillingham 1: QPR loan man Charlie Kelman headed Gills infront early on at the Eco-Power Stadium

Gillingham clinched a crucial win at Doncaster Rovers on Saturday with the only goal of the game coming in the first minute.

Charlie Kelman’s opener was timed at 59 seconds, giving the Gills the edge in their big match at Doncaster. The game was massive for both teams, with time running out on their hopes for survival. The Gills started the weekend game a point better off than their hosts - three from safety. Only goal difference now separates them.

Charlie Kelman put Gillingham ahead at Doncaster with less than a minute played Picture: KPI
Charlie Kelman put Gillingham ahead at Doncaster with less than a minute played Picture: KPI

There was an enforced change in goal for the Gills as former Doncaster loan keeper Pontus Dahlberg replaced Aaron Chapman, who had picked up a muscle strain. More injuries were picked up at Doncaster.

The Gills were light in numbers again, with youth player Josh Chambers named among the six substitutes and introduced late on. Ben Reeves and Mustapha Carayol were missing injured while Daniel Phillips started a three-game ban.

Striker Kelman was back in the starting line-up and within a minute he had scored to put the Gills infront. Ryan Jackson’s long throw was allowed to bounce inside the box and Kelman got the last touch at the far post. It was a first goal in 19 appearances for the Gills.

Doncaster had more of the ball in the opening half but were often wasteful. Josh Martin had a couple of shots from outside the box that were blocked as the Gills stayed resolute in defence. Dahlberg wasn’t overly troubled.

Jackson had a shot straight at home keeper Jonathan Mitchell but his afternoon lasted less than half an hour. It had been a productive 27 minutes but what looked like a hamstring strain led to him being added to the injury list.

Olly Lee - who was also back in the Gills eleven - blasted a chance narrowly wide while Doncaster continued to put efforts well off the mark. Substitute Matt Smith injected energy into the home side but his finishing wasn’t any better.

Pontus Dahlberg was back in the Gillingham side to face his old club Picture: KPI
Pontus Dahlberg was back in the Gillingham side to face his old club Picture: KPI

The hosts put some early pressure on the Gillingham goal with a couple of corners that came to nothing and a low shot that Dahlberg got behind.

Doncaster were being cheered on by a noisy home crowd and they were nearly treated to a goal from Rowe, firing in at goal from a tight angle, but Dahlberg was there to make a save again. Martin tried his luck again from 20 yards soon after but needed to do better to beat the Swedish international stopper.

Ethan Galbraith was off target with a thumping drive for Doncaster and Rowe dragged an effort narrowly wide as the hosts kept probing without success.

For the Gills, Kelman was replaced with 15 minutes left after receiving treatment, with boss Neil Harris handing a debut to youth player Josh Chambers.

Doncaster wide-man Martin wasn’t giving up. A curled effort towards the far corner was saved by Dahlberg on the stretch and turned out for a corner by David Tutonda.

There was five minutes of added time at the end of the 90 for the Gills to hang on.

Doncaster: Mitchell, Knoyle, Olowu, Williams, Rowe, Jackson (Smith 27mins), Seaman (Barlow 76mins), Dodoo (Hiwula 76mins), Martin, Galbraith, Odubeko. Subs not used: Jones, Bostock, Gardner, Agard.

Gillingham: Dahlberg, Jackson (Tutonda 40mins), McKenzie, Ehmer, Tucker, Masterson, O’Keefe, Lee, Thompson, Kelman (Chambers 75mins), Oliver. Subs not used: Chapman, Dickson-Peters, Lintott, Maghoma.

Attendance: Not given

Referee: Anthony Backhouse

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