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Gillingham 0 AFC Wimbledon 0: No goals at Priestfield in League 1 relegation scrap

Chances came and went for Gillingham as they were forced to settle for a point against lowly Wimbledon.

The Gills were unable to capitalise on a dominant performance that lacked the end product and were almost made to pay as Wimbledon substitute Terry Ablade hit the bar late on.

Ben Reeves was picked to start the game on Tuesday night Picture: KPI
Ben Reeves was picked to start the game on Tuesday night Picture: KPI

Billed as a huge game by many and a ‘six pointer’ by Gills boss Neil Harris, Tuesday was an opportunity to close the gap on those positions of safety.

The Gills started the match in the ascendancy, with attack-minded Ben Reeves included as one of two changes, helping make things happen upfront early on as he and Ben Thompson flanked striker Vadaine Oliver in a tweak to the formation.

Gillingham’s big front-man Oliver had a trio of early chances, sending an overhead kick, a header and a half-volley wide. Max Ehmer’s low shot through a crowded area was blocked by keeper Nik Tzanev and Thompson wasn’t far off with a rasping effort.

It was a big improvement on the weekend fixture against Plymouth which had seen the Gills struggle to make an impression at the top end.

Wimbledon included former Dover loan man Aaron Cosgrave upfront but his night was over through injury after barely 10 minutes. The visitors threatened on a couple of occasions but reached the break without troubling the Gills goal.

Robbie McKenzie gets the ball under control for Gillingham Picture: KPI
Robbie McKenzie gets the ball under control for Gillingham Picture: KPI

While it had been a good first 45 minutes for the hosts, asking more questions with the two men alongside Oliver, there was disappointment that the pressure and the chances hadn’t led to a goal.

The sides went in at the break goalless and Ehmer’s shot from a corner had been the best of the first half openings. Gillingham had dominated the opening 20 minutes but the chances were fewer as the half progressed with neither side able to dig out the quality.

Oliver nodded a Thompson cross narrowly wide shortly after the restart as the chances kept coming while at the other end Sam Cosgrove thumped a shot well over the bar.

Gillingham continued to build and probe without being able to make it count. Charlie Kelman replaced Reeves to give them fresh energy upfront.

There were big calls for a penalty when Oliver was pulled down in the box but referee Christopher Sarginson was having none of it.

Conor Masterson on the ball for Gillingham Picture: KPI
Conor Masterson on the ball for Gillingham Picture: KPI

Visiting sub Aaron Pressley should have done better when well placed in the box, but it was the story of the night, as he fired well over. Charlie Kelman fired wide as the game swung from box to box

That moment of quality came with five minutes left as Wimbledon’s Terry Ablade connected to a cross but his overhead kick cannoned off the Gills crossbar.

Jack Tucker was denied from a corner by the keeper and Tzanev was there again to save from Thompson’s late header.

Gillingham: Chapman, Jackson, McKenzie, Tucker, Masterson, Ehmer, Lee (Phillips 85mins), O’Keefe, Thompson, Reeves (Kelman 67mins), Oliver. Subs not used: Dahlberg, Tutonda, Dickson-Peters, Lintott, Maghoma.

Wimbledon: Tzanev, Osew, Nightingale, Heneghan, Alexander, Marsh, Chislett (Ablade 78mins), McCormick, Mebude, Cosgrove (Pressley 78mins), Cosgrave (Brown 14mins). Subs not used: Broome, Csoka, Kalamabyi, Tomas.

Attendance: 4,151 (604 away)

Referee: Christopher Sarginson

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