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Gillingham 2 Brackley Town 2 - FA Cup match report

Out-of-form Gillingham fought back to avoid another FA Cup shocker against Brackley.

The Gills were two goals down before a Frank Nouble double got them level.

A draw against the non-league outfit extended Gills’ winless run to nine games, setting an unwanted defensive record in the process.

Deji Oshilaja challenges Brackley's Steve Diggin Picture: Ady Kerry
Deji Oshilaja challenges Brackley's Steve Diggin Picture: Ady Kerry

The two sides will meet again for a place in the second round.

Reaction: Gillingham boss insists he's no quitter after cup disappointment.

Gills boss Justin Edinburgh had named a full-strength team for the visit of National North side Brackley Town, watched by a small crowd of 2,410 at Priestfield.

Chris Herd’s injury meant there was an enforced change with Emmanuel Osadebe playing right-back as Deji Oshilaja moved back into central defence.

Gills’ defence were hoping to avoid breaking an unwanted record, having gone 27 games without a clean sheet the week before, equalling their worst-ever run.

Those hopes were ended after just 13 minutes as the Gills endured a torrid spell midway through the opening half, conceding a second before staging a fightback.

The visitors went into the match buoyed by the 2013 win over the Gills in the same competition, along with an impressive run of form heading into the game.

Visiting manager Kevin Wilkin picked up their division’s manager-of-the-month-award for October. His side were eight unbeaten ahead of their trip to Priestfield. The Gills hadn’t won a game in their previous eight outings.

After a bright start the Gills found themselves a goal behind when Alex Gudger headed home unmarked from a corner.

Adam Walker and tricky midfielder James Armson both went close to a second before the Gills did concede again, with 26 minutes gone.

With the Gills backing off, Armson found the net with a 20-yard strike, which flew into the roof of the net.

An angry reaction from the home fans was quickly hushed, however, as Nouble halved the deficit just two minutes later. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas ran into the box unchallenged and he picked out his fellow forward to side-foot home.

Emmanuel-Thomas struck a post with a low effort before supplying the ammunition for a Nouble equaliser in the final minute of the half. In a move that was similar to their first goal, the Brackley defence was picked apart and the Gills went into the break back on level terms.

Nouble’s hopes of adding to his tally ended early in the second half as he hobbled off injured, to be replaced by Elliott List.

The second half was less frantic as the first, with Gills’ first meaningful effort coming on 66 minutes, when Jake Hessenthaler’s low shot was gathered by keeper Laurie Walker.

Gillingham failed to show enough quality on the ball in the second half, giving away possession and failing to get crosses into dangerous areas.

Paul Konchesky fired wide with seven minutes left after being picked out by Emmanuel-Thomas, the Brackley defence doing enough to force him off target.

Gillingham: Nelson, Osadebe, Konchesky, Ehmer, Oshilaja, Wright, Knott, Hessenthaler, Nouble (List 56mins), Emmanuel-Thomas, McDonald (Donnelly 81mins). Subs not used: Hadler, Pask, Oldaker, Dickenson, Byrne

Brackley: Walker, Myles, Gudger, Byrne, Graham, Dean, G Walker, Armson, Ndlovu (Pitt 90mins), Diggin (Moyo 77mins), A Walker. Subs not used: Lowe, Cox, Farrell, Rankin, Noon.

Attendance: 2,410 (148 away)

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