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Gillingham 1 Mansfield 1: Macauley Bonne opener cancelled out by Davis Keillor-Dunn’s controversial goal in League 2 clash at Priestfield

Gillingham had to settle for a point at Priestfield after visitors Mansfield scored a controversial equaliser.

The Gills took a second-minute lead as Macauley Bonne opened his account for the club, but a hugely controversial goal got Mansfield level, scoring from a quickly-taken free-kick that few could believe referee Jacob Miles allowed to stand.

Manager Neil Harris watches on against Mansfield Picture: @Julian_KPI
Manager Neil Harris watches on against Mansfield Picture: @Julian_KPI

There were plenty of chances in the second half, for both sides, but the match ended 1-1.

Dom Jefferies was back in the team after returning from injury and there was also a place for Jonny Williams following his absense the week before through injury.

This was a second versus third fixture in League 2, with Mansfield just a point worse off than the Gills. Manager Neil Harris had said it would be a marker as to how far his side had progressed.

Defeats home and away last season had seen Mansfield hold the upper-hand in the previous campaign. Nigel Clough’s men came to Priestfield unbeaten but they were behind early on as the Gills made a great start to the game.

Connor Mahoney won possession down the right side and crossed in for Bonne, who finished well past Christy Pym, a cushioned left-footed volley beating the Mansfield goalie.

The Gills were getting plenty of joy down that side, with Jefferies creating another chance as he found himself in plenty of space, and from the cross Bonne’s attempt was heading towards the top corner before Pym intervened. The keeper was also alert as Mahoney tried to score direct from the set-piece.

Scott Malone had seen an earlier drive saved and Shaun Williams had a good chance blocked.

The closest Mansfield got to goal was when Lucas Akins glanced a corner just wide but they found themselves level in the 36th minute, to the disbelief of most in the Priestfield crowd.

Mansfield had broken forward following Lewis Brunt’s long clearance forward but the referee blew up for a foul committed by Ethan Coleman, and while about to issue the Gills midfielder a yellow card, Mansfield played a quick free-kick to Keillor-Dunn, the referee put the card back in his pocket as Jake Turner was beaten with a low shot.

The referee got his yellow card back out to complete the formalities of a booking for Coleman.

There was a furious reaction from the home fans as the goal was allowed to stand and they were further incensed moments later when the Gills tried to take a quick free-kick themselves, with Jonny Williams put in on goal, but Mr Miles pulled play back.

Gilligham’s players and coaching staff kept their frustrations to themselves as the sides went off at the break, although the home fans made Mr Miles know how they felt.

The Gills made a bright start to the second half but Mansfield missed a good chance to take the lead when Ollie Clarke pulled the ball back for striker George Maris and he missed the target.

There were strong penalty claims from the Gills when Bonne was flattened in the box while looking to convert after Mahoney’s powerful effort was spilled by the keeper. The referee, probably rightly, awarded a corner.

The game really opened up with an hour gone as Mansfield had a flurry of chances.

Turner had to save well from Keillor-Dunn before Clarke then had a shot deflected wide for a corner. From the set-piece Clarke had another chance and this time Conor Masterson got in the way.

Gills allowed the visitors another opportunity soon after as Turner was called upon again to save from Keillor-Dunn.

Busy keeper Turner was needed again as Keillor-Dunn beat the offside trap, the big man getting down well to pluck the ball off the Mansfield striker’s boot.

Aaron Lewis screwed another chance wide for the visitors with 20 minutes left while Shad Ogie fired a shot over the Rainham End for the Gills.

The game remained in the balance until the closing minutes with Ashley Nadesan going close from a corner for the home side.

Shaun Williams played a stoppage-time ball to Bonne that only just missed his head, as the game finished level.

Gillingham: Turner, Alexander, Malone, Masterson, Ogie, Coleman, S Williams, J Williams (Clarke 63mins), Jefferies (Lapslie 63mins), Mahoney (Nadesan 82mins), Bonne. Subs not used: Morris, Ehmer, Nichols, McKenzie.

Mansfield: Pym, Bowery, MacDonald (Cargill 46mins), Brunt, Flint, Clarke (Swan 80mins), Reed, Lewis, Keillor-Dunn (Gale 94mins), Maris, Akins. Subs not used: Flinders, Johnson, Williams, Boateng.

Referee: Jacob Miles

Attendance: 6,486 (545 away)

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