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Gillingham 3 Oldham Athletic 3 – match report

Jake Hessenthaler hit a stunner to rescue a point for the Gills on home soil.

Rory Donnelly scored twice for Gillingham in the opening half but Oldham levelled on both occasions.

Michael Higdon put the visitors 3-2 up in the second half but Hessenthaler smashed in an equaliser moments later.

Jake Hessenthaler Picture: Barry Goodwin
Jake Hessenthaler Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gillingham had won their last eight games at Priestfield, a record stretching back to the end of the previous campaign. That run was finally ended by lowly Oldham.

The draw specialists had shared the points in seven of their previous 10 league games and it was all-square once more in a six-goal thriller.

Gills boss Justin Edinburgh made just one change to the team which thrashed Fleetwood 5-1 in the week and that was enforced.

An injury to Ryan Jackson meant he missed Saturday’s game and was replaced by Aaron Morris. There was still no Deji Oshilaja in the squad, despite the pre-match confidence from the manager that he would be fit.

The Gills took an eighth-minute lead and it was Donnelly with the opener. Fresh from scoring twice against Fleetwood, he swept the ball home from a Brennan Dickenson cross.

Oldham hit back in the 28th minute when Gillingham cleared only as far as Higdon and his shot took a deflection off Dickenson, leaving Stuart Nelson beaten in the Gills goal.

Rory Donnelly takes on the Latics defence Picture: Barry Goodwin
Rory Donnelly takes on the Latics defence Picture: Barry Goodwin

It was the start of a goal flurry, with three in nine minutes. Donnelly put the Gills back in front, heading home from a Dickenson cross, but the lead remained intact for just three minutes as Higdon turned provider for his strike partner Dominic Poleon, getting the better of Dickenson and running onto a ball in behind, before beating Nelson.

Edinburgh made a change in midfield for the second half, taking off captain Doug Loft and introducing Hessenthaler.

And the substitute scored a magnificent goal, but not before Higdon had put Oldham 3-2 ahead, volleying home unopposed at the far post from a Poleon cross.

Just two minutes after conceding, Hessenthaler turned on the edge of the box to fire the Gills level, his shot squeezing in past keeper David Cornell.

Cody McDonald was introduced with 25 minutes left but Oldham weren’t settling for the draw. Forward Poleon was a real handful and sub Lee Croft added an extra goal threat in the latter stages.

Gillingham failed to create enough scoring opportunities once they had levelled and had to settle for a point in the end.

Gillingham: Nelson, A Morris, Dickenson, Egan, Ehmer, Wright (Osadebe 78mins), Loft (Hessenthaler 46mins), Houghton, Dack, Donnelly, Norris (McDonald 65mins). Subs not used: G Morris, Lennon, Williamson, McGlashan.

Oldham: Cornell, Dummigan, Burn, Wilson, Lafferty, Kelly, Jones, Fulton (Croft 72mins), Philliskirk, Poleon, Higdon. Subs not used: Coleman, Eckersley, Brown, Dieng, Winchester, Yeates.

Attendance: 6,157 (181 away)

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