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Gillingham 3 Bristol Rovers 1 – League 1 match report


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Cody McDonald scored two late goals as the Gills claimed a priceless three points at Priestfield.

Josh Wright put the Gills infront with his 14 goal of the season but Rovers levelled from the penalty spot.

Priestfield went wild when McDonald smashed home a goal on 90 minutes and then sealed the points with another six minutes into stoppage-time.

Gills boss Ady Pennock embraces goalscorer Cody McDonald last season Picture: Andy Jones
Gills boss Ady Pennock embraces goalscorer Cody McDonald last season Picture: Andy Jones

As expected, the Gills were without central defender Zesh Rehman, missing with a hamstring injury.


Reaction: Relief for Gills boss after win


Boss Ady Pennock decided against a formation change, preferring to move Ryan Jackson into the back three and switching Harry Cornick to right wing-back.

The Gills started the day a point and a place above the drop-zone, without a win in five and a clean sheet in 20. A win couldn’t come soon enough.

Rovers needed a win to keep alive their League 1 play-off hopes.

Despite both sides in desperate need of points, the quality of football in the opening half wasn’t great.

Max Ehmer challenges for the ball Picture: Andy Jones
Max Ehmer challenges for the ball Picture: Andy Jones

Too many passes went astray and the closest Gills got to scoring was when Josh Wright put a chance wide after Rovers had been caught on the break.

Cody McDonald had his appeals for a penalty waved away by the referee after going down under a challenge from visiting skipper Tom Lockyer.

Rovers had little quality on show upfront, struggling to break open the Gills defence, with Ellis Harrison diverting an on-target effort from Lee Mansell out of play.

Harrison smashed a shot wildly wide early in the first half and Chris Lines also volleyed well wide.

Both teams missed golden chances to take the lead in the opening moments of the second half. Wright screwed a shot wide for the Gills while under pressure and Billy Bodin did likewise at the other end, with only the keeper to beat.

Joe Quigley shot wide for the Gills as the second half continued at a much higher tempo. Bodin hit one over for the visitors and substitute Luke James skied a great chance after keeper Tomas Holy had beaten down a shot from Moore.

Joe Quigley on the ball for Gills Picture: Andy Jones
Joe Quigley on the ball for Gills Picture: Andy Jones

It was the Gills who finally made the breakthrough, taking the lead in the 64 minute. Mark Byrne’s throw found its way to Wright and he buried the ball past keeper Joe Lumley.

Gillingham’s lead lasted 10 minutes. Deji Oshilaja was penalised for a shove on Lockyer, just inside the box, leading to referee Mark Heywood pointing to the spot. Bodin converted.

Cody McDonald on the ball for the Gills Picture: Andy Jones
Cody McDonald on the ball for the Gills Picture: Andy Jones

Wright glanced a chance wide with five minutes left, with the ball almot falling for Rory Donnelly, as the Gills pressed for a late winner.

It finally came on 90 minutes when McDonald collected a clearance from keeper Holy, he side-stepped a challenge from James before smashing a terrific shot into the top corner.

McDonald then added another deep into stoppage time with a lobbed effort over the visiting keeper.

Gillingham: Holy, Jackson, Ehmer, Oshilaja, Hessenthaler, Martin, Wright, Byrne (Osadebe 83mins), Cornick (Parker 65mins), McDonald, Quigley (Donnelly 65mins). Subs not used: Nelson, Herd, List, Muldoon.

Bristol R: Lumley, Clarke- Salter, Brown, Lockyer, Sweeney, Mansell (Montano 70mins), Lines, Bodin, Sinclair, Moore (Easter 60mins), Harrison (James 46mins). Subs not used: Mildenhall, Harris, Partington, Burn.

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