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Gillingham 1 Wimbledon 0: League 2 match report from Priestfield | Game delayed by floodlight failure before Conor Masterson goal

Gillingham’s match with Wimbledon was delayed by a power cut before Conor Masterson scored a winner.

The opening half at Priestfield lacked entertainment and there wasn’t much happening before a 23-minute delay due to floodlight failure with just over an hour gone. There was plenty of action after the restart with Dons’ leading scorer Ali Al-Hamadi hitting the woodwork before Masterson touched home Macauley Bonne’s header.

The floodlights went out at Priestfield with 64 minutes played, the game goalless at the time
The floodlights went out at Priestfield with 64 minutes played, the game goalless at the time

There were three changes made to the Gills starting line-up after a weekend defeat at Tranmere.

Max Ehmer replaced Shad Ogie in central defence for the midweek fixture while Jayden Clarke and Tim Dieng came in for Jonny Williams and George Lapslie. Tom Nichols retained his place upfront.

Head coach Stephen Clemence had demanded a response after the 3-1 loss against Tranmere and were up against a Wimbledon side who had found some form, winning back-to-back games in League 2, including an eye-catching 4-2 victory over high-flyers Notts County on the Saturday.

Ehmer was in to provide experience at the back and there were a few moments where he showed a cool head to either stop Wimbledon in their tracks or play the ball out.

Ethan Coleman on the ball for Gillingham Picture: @Julian_KPI
Ethan Coleman on the ball for Gillingham Picture: @Julian_KPI

The opening half was far from a classic, the Gills unable to make the most of any forward momentum, with some poor decision making at the top end. Nichols almost got in once but was limited to a weak deflected shot that keeper Alex Bass gathered up.

Wimbledon were restricted to a couple of shots themselves but nothing to trouble keeper Jake Turner, their best moments coming from dangerous crosses that went close to being met.

Dons leading scorer Ali Al-Hamadi - with two goals in each of his last two league outings - almost picked out Connor Lemonheigh-Evans with a cut-back following a counter-attack and was close to getting on the end of a ball in himself from Omar Bugiel.

It had been a frustrating half for the home fans, who hadn’t seen much of a response to the weekend, but it was all to play for in the second half. Clemence had plenty of attacking options on the bench at his disposal.

The Gills head coach opted to stick with the same team for the start of the second half.

Gillingham looked brighter at the start of the second half. A Connor Mahoney free-kick presented the hosts with an early chance and it was an inviting ball in, somehow missed by several players.

Scott Malone takes on James Tilley Picture: @Julian_KPI
Scott Malone takes on James Tilley Picture: @Julian_KPI

Clemence made changes with almost an hour gone with Jonny Williams and George Lapslie replacing Tim Dieng and Jayden Clarke.

Mahoney fired wide for the Gills from Scott Malone’s deep cross but Bass remained untroubled.

There was finally some drama in the match with 64 minutes gone but sadly it was when the lights went out. A power cut in the Towns was to blame and the players went back to the changing rooms while the club’s generator was fired up.

The players returned after a 23-minute stoppage, with Coleman directing a header at goal shortly after the restart.

Some home fans voiced displeasure when Nichols was replaced by Ashley Nadesan, rather than the two men being paired up to for the final minutes.

Both goalkeepers made important stops, Bass holding onto a Lapslie header after the Gills player headed straight at him - the best chance of the night at that point - before Turner clung onto a effort from Al-Hamdi.

Al-Hamadi had wasted a couple of good chances for the visitors, getting plenty of space to run at the Gills defence, and fired a low shot against the upright.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 107th minute when Masterson guided the ball home from Williams’ free-kick after Bonne had headed it down.

Conor Masterson looks for options Picture: @Julian_KPI
Conor Masterson looks for options Picture: @Julian_KPI

Gillingham: Turner, Alexander, Malone, Masterson, Ehmer, Coleman, Dieng (Lapslie 59mins), Mahoney (Bonne 107mins), Jefferies, Clarke (J Williams 59mins), Nichols (Nadesan 96mins). Subs not used: Morris, Clark, Ogie.

Wimbledon: Bass, Ogundere (Sasu), Currie, Johnson, Lewis, Reeves, Little, Lemonheigh-Evans (Ball), Tilley (Neufville 94mins), Al-Hamadi, Bugiel (Davison). Subs not used: Tzanev, Brown, Pearce.

Referee: Lee Swabey

Attendance: 5,747 (548 away)

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