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Gillingham 1 Grimsby Town 1: League 2 match report from Priestfield - George Lapslie on target for the Gills in home draw

Gillingham dropped more valuable points in their chase for a League 2 play-off place.

George Lapslie cancelled out a Grimsby opener scored by Donovan Wilson in the first half. Connor Mahoney hit the woodwork for the Gills after the break and Shad Ogie blazed a shot over after a good run as the match finished 1-1.

Robbie McKenzie was back in the starting eleven on Saturday Picture: @Julian_KPI
Robbie McKenzie was back in the starting eleven on Saturday Picture: @Julian_KPI

It’s eight unbeaten at home for Gillingham but six of those have been drawn.

A sickness bug that hit the Gills ahead of the game kept midfielder Ethan Coleman out while defender Conor Masterson was suspended. It meant George Lapslie and Robbie McKenzie returning to the starting eleven.

Gillingham needed a win to keep their play-off ambitions looking realistic and were up against a side starting the day fourth from bottom, albeit five unbeaten and boasting a win over top-five side MK Dons last time out.

With Masterson missing, head coach Stephen Clemence took the opportunity to revert to a four-man defence, with a 4-2-3-1 setup.

The Gills had a midweek defeat at Wimbledon to get over and they went close early on during a positive start when Conor Mahoney’s cross was headed wide by Lapslie.

It was Grimsby who took the lead on 13 minutes and they did so as they countered from a Gillingham corner, Gavin Holohan putting Wilson in on goal and he slotted the ball past Glenn Morris.

Gillingham equalised two minutes later as Lapslie timed his run well to meet Tim Dieng’s cross to finish past keeper Harvey Cartwright.

The goal ended a four-month wait for a first-half league goal for Gillingham at Priestfield and they came close to more.

Defender Harvey Rodgers hooked Jonny Williams’ goalbound header off the line and from the resulting corner Tim Dieng’s looping header needed to be saved from under the bar.

Max Clark had a shot beaten away by the keeper and a couple of balls in from the same player weren’t far off the mark.

George Lapslie drives forward as Gillingham take on Grimsby Picture: @Julian_KPI
George Lapslie drives forward as Gillingham take on Grimsby Picture: @Julian_KPI

Grimsby ended the half with a couple of chances of their own as Morris ensured Justin Obikwu’s effort went wide and Holohan dragged the ball wide.

Chances at goal for the Gills were harder to come by in the early stages of the second half before some fine opportunities came and went.

Hutton blasted one shot into the stand for the hosts while Wilson fired over the bar at the other end for Grimsby.

Lapslie served up a good chance for Hawkins with a cut-back which the striker put wide of the mark.

Shad Ogie’s vicious strike presented Mahoney with an opportunity as the keeper could only parry the ball to the Gills man but his follow-up bounced off the far upright. Moments later Mahoney ran in on goal again and forced Cartwright into a save.

Ogie ended a fine run forward by blazing a shot over, after doing well to fend off Toby Mullarkey, and Mahoney also missed the target as he ran in on goal with purpose.

Gills made a triple change with five or so minutes left in the hope fresh legs would get them over the line.

The Gills had another good chance with a free-kick on the edge of the box with a minute left but Mahoney fired over again.

League 2 table

Gillingham: Morris, Hutton, Clark (Malone 84mins), Ehmer, Ogie, McKenzie (Clarke 84mins), Dieng, Lapslie, Mahoney, J Williams (Nadesan 84mins), Hawkins. Subs not used: Holtam, S Williams, Gbode, Giles.

Grimsby: Cartwright, Mullarkey (Smith 81mins), Rodgers, Tharme, Hume, Clifton (Eisa 46mins), Thompson, Green, Holohan (Andrews 74mins), Obikwu (Gnahoua 46mins), Wilson (Pyke 81mins). Subs not used: Eastwood, Wood.

Referee: James Bell

Attendance: 6,065 (425)

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