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Dover Athletic 2 Gillingham 2 – match report

By Luke Cawdell

Gillingham were held by National League side Dover at Crabble on Saturday.

Ryan Bird’s early goal for Dover was cancelled out before the break by Conor Wilkinson, making amends for a penalty that had been saved.

Luke O’Neill put Gills infront on the hour but Dover levelled moments later through Giancarlo Gallifuoco after an error from Gills sub keeper Tomas Holy.

Dover drive forward against the Gills Picture: Gary Browne
Dover drive forward against the Gills Picture: Gary Browne

The Gills started the majority of the team which finished the midweek game at Dartford, naming a new trialist striker upfront alongside Wilkinson.

Reaction: Gillingham coach Steve Lovell on the 2-2 draw

It was Dover who went ahead, with Bird’s glancing header from a Femi Ilesamni cross beating Stuart Nelson in the Gills goal.

Gillingham, playing a 4-1-3-2 formation in their latest outing, missed the chance to level from the spot after their trialist striker had been fouled in the box by Gallifuoco. Mitch Walker saved down low to deny Wilkinson.

Five minutes later, with 32 minutes gone, Wilkinson levelled after striking a loose ball home inside the box.

Lee Martin’s low ball into the box almost led to a goal early in the second half but Manny Parry got a vital touch on the ball. From the subsequent corner Luke O’Neill’s header was claimed by keeper Walker.

Busy midfielder Martin fired wide with 51 minutes gone for the Gills while Dover veteran Loui Fazakerley showed quality down the right after coming on at the break.

Gillingham went ahead with an hour gone when a free-kick was headed home by O’Neill, scoring from close range.

It was 2-2 in the 63 minute when Holy, who had just come on as one of 11 subs, missed a catch and Australian newcomer Gallifuoco was able to put the ball into an empty net.

Holy did make a good save moments later, coming out to deny substitute striker Tobi Sho-Silva while one of Dover’s trialists hit the bar with a curling effort.

Darren Oldaker opened up the Dover defence late on, with a ball over the top, but his trialist team-mate was unable to keep his volley under the bar. Sho-Silva had a good chance at the other end with five minutes left but fired over.

Dover: Walker, Trialist (Fazakerley 46mins), Ilesamni (Barnard 70mins), Gallifuoco, Parry (Essuman 75mins), Essam (Trialist 75mins), Richards (Sho-Silva 61mins), Brundle, Bird (Trialist 61mins), Allen (Sho-Silva 61mins), Trialist (Trialist 70mins).

Gillingham: Gillingham: Nelson (Holy 60mins), O’Neill (O’Mara 60mins), Ogilvie (Garmston 60mins), Zakuani (Ehmer 60mins), Trialist (Tucker 60mins), Hessenthaler (Oldaker 60mins), Byrne (Trialist 60mins), Martin (Wright 60mins), List (Wagstaff 60mins), Wilkinson (Mbo 60mins), Trialist (Stevenson 60mins). Subs: Hadler, Chapman, Simpson, Cundle.

Attendance: 1,084

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