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Gillingham 0 Accrington Stanley 0: Stalemate at Priestfield in League 1 clash

Gillingham failed to take advantage of some big chances as their game with Accrington Stanley ended goalless.

The Gills were up against top-half opposition and had many more opportunities than the visitors but couldn’t stick them away. There were big misses, top saves, one off the line and another off the woodwork but the ball wouldn’t go in for the home side.

Vadaine Oliver had a good chance for Gillingham at the end of the first half Picture: Andy Jones
Vadaine Oliver had a good chance for Gillingham at the end of the first half Picture: Andy Jones

Manager Steve Evans - who turned 59 on Saturday - returned the likes of Kyle Dempsey, Max Ehmer and John Akinde to the starting eleven after being rested for the midweek EFL Trophy match.

Gillingham - watched on by their lowest league crowd of the season - were the superior side first half and had the better of the openings, none better than Vadaine Oliver’s chance on 45 minutes which he somehow put wide after keeper Toby Savin had done well to save from John Akinde.

Strike-partner Akinde, who was a handful for the visitors, had missed a good opportunity himself early on when he skied a shot from Danny Lloyd’s cross.

Chances came and went throughout the first 45 minutes, Oliver lobbing one wide and then heading another into the Town End moments after Savin had showed good reactions to deny Max Ehmer after he nodded on a Lloyd free-kick.

Jack Tucker went close, Kyle Dempsey put a shot into the keeper’s arms and aside from a couple of blocked efforts, Accrington were doing little to look like scoring. That was until Harry Pell found himself free in space but screwed the shot away from goal, leaving keeper Jamie Cumming untroubled.

The half finished with many in the crowd wondering how Oliver hadn’t smashed home the opener at the far stick.

Stuart O’Keefe wasn’t far off the mark with a trio of chances early in the second half. A

well-struck shot flew past the upright and he tried his luck again moments later with a low drive that Savin got hold of. A third chance, on the volley, went wide.

Lloyd was next to have a pop, stinging the hands of the keeper, and when the ball ran loose O’Keefe twice fired in shots that were blocked, the second one which he felt had been handled. The referee said it hadn’t.

A reaction save from Cumming showed he was still alert, to keep out a Pell shot.

Gillingham kept pressing at the other end and a free-kick from substitute Mustapha Carayol led to Savin making a save but he needed defender Michael Nottingham to clear after the ball was spilled. That chance had come after Ross Sykes had handled just outside the box when under pressure from the impressive Akinde.

Cumming wasn’t troubled by a bobbled effort from David Morgan or a Pell shot that was smashed wide but with Gillingham unable to make their chances count the visitors were always a threat.

Tucker had a header cleared off the line with seven minutes left and then Dempsey curled one from distance off the woodwork.

Gillingham: Cumming, Jackson, McKenzie, Ehmer, Bennett, Tucker, Lloyd, O’Keefe (Carayol 62mins), Dempsey, Oliver, Akinde. Subs not used: Chapman, Adshead, Lintott, Reeves, Akehurst, Sithole.

Accrington: Savin, Hamilton, Sykes, O’Sullivan, Pell, Bishop, McConville, Nottingham, Conneely, Morgan, Amankwah. Subs not used: Trafford, Procter, Leigh, Scully, Mansell, Nolan, Malcolm.

Attendance: 3,609 (80 away)

Referee: Chris Pollard

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