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Gillingham 2 AFC Wimbledon 2 – League 1 match report

Gillingham are still waiting for their first win under Ady Pennock.

First-half goals from Josh Wright and Bradley Dack cancelled out Wimbledon’s opener at Priestfield.

Former Gills man Andy Barcham levelled the scores after the break to deny the Gills a much-needed three points.

Gillingham head coach Ady Pennock Picture: Andy Payton
Gillingham head coach Ady Pennock Picture: Andy Payton

It’s now 11 games without a win for the relegation-threatened Gills.

The night was made more painful after injuries to Deji Oshilaja and Bradley Garmston, the latter going off with another hamstring injury.

The Gills announced after the game that striker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas had left the club.

Gillingham clinched the League 2 title the last time they faced Wimbledon at Priestfield, a game highlighted before Tuesday’s match by chairman Paul Scally as one of the club’s greatest achievements.

The Gills were in desperate need of a win which would have put them four points clear of the drop zone.

Pennock had failed to win any of his first seven games in charge and was up against a Wimbledon side struggling to score on the road.

He switched to a 3-5-2 formation and handed Josh Parker and Lee Martin their first Gillingham starts.

Josh Parker on the ball for Gills Picture: Andy Payton
Josh Parker on the ball for Gills Picture: Andy Payton

New signing Ollie Muldoon was on the bench.

It was the visitors who struck first, after an open start to the match, with Lyle Taylor firing home after big striker Tom Elliott had played George Francomb’s free-kick into the danger-zone.

That lead lasted just two minutes as Dack showed his quality, forcing the Wimbledon defence on the retreat and cutting in on his left foot to steer the ball past keeper James Shea.

Elliott wasted a good opportunity midway through the half, after chasing a long ball forward, but keeper Stuart Nelson did enough to put him off.

With 36 minutes gone the Gills went in front. Dack again opened things up and he found Ryan Jackson who in turn crossed for Wright and he had enough power on the shot to take it over the line.

Bradley Dack celebrates his equaliser Picture: Andy Payton
Bradley Dack celebrates his equaliser Picture: Andy Payton

Wimbledon should have levelled just before the hour when substitute Will Nightingale had a free header from a corner but he put it wide.

The visitors continued to threaten but Dack found space for a volley at goal that Shea did well to save and moments later Rory Donnelly was denied, failing to make the most of a chance after being put in on goal.

From possibly going 3-1 up, the game was level again as Wimbledon went straight down the other end and equalised. It was Barcham with the goal 20 minutes from time, finding the net with a low shot past Nelson.

Paul Robinson also put the ball into his own net from Dack’s cross late on. The lively Dack also provided a ball in that Byrne put an inch wide at the far post in the final minute.

Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson, Herd, Ehmer, Oshilaja (Garmston 54mins, (Wagstaff 80mins)), Byrne, Wright, Donnelly (McDonald 77mins), Martin, Dack, Parker. Subs not used: Holy, Hessenthaler, Osadebe, Muldoon.

Wimbledon: Shea, Robinson, Francomb, Reeves, Elliott (Barnett 75mins), Soares, Barcham, Fitzpatrick (Poleon 65mins), Kelly (Nightingale 46mins), Chrles, Taylor. Subs not used: McDonnell, Bulman, Parrett, Owens.

Attendance: 4,956 (512 away)

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