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Gillingham 1 Walsall 1 match report

A mistake by keeper Jonathan Bond cost Gillingham victory against Walsall on Tuesday night.

Gills led through Cody McDonald’s first-half header and were on top when Bond gifted Franck Moussa the equaliser just before the hour.

Neither team looked particularly confident in a scrappy start that was short on quality, summed up when Walsall full-back Scott Laird shanked a cross over the roof of the Rainham End from virtually on the byline.

Franck Moussa beats Deji Oshilaja to deny Gills all three points on Tuesday Picture: Andy Payton
Franck Moussa beats Deji Oshilaja to deny Gills all three points on Tuesday Picture: Andy Payton

It was unfair to expect sparkling football given Gills’ bad run in League 1 but they plugged away and threatened through Max Ehmer from a Ryan Jackson long throw, the Gills defender getting two bites of the cherry before the ball was forced out for a corner.

A free-kick off the training ground saw Bradley Dack shape to shoot 30 yards out, only to roll the ball to the unmarked Ehmer who curled wide.

Justin Edinburgh’s side took the lead on 25 minutes.

Oshilaja played a nice ball over the top for Scott Wagstaff and while the Gills midfielder couldn’t get a shot away, he did well to stand up a cross to the back post for McDonald to nod home.

Gills didn’t look entirely comfortable at the back, a mistake by Oshilaja out wide presenting the ball to Kieron Morris, whose shot was parried by Jonathan Bond.

Gillingham’s best move of the half came shortly before the break, Josh Wright leading a break in a move which reached double figures before Dack’s header was saved by Neil Etheridge.

Early in the second half Ryan Jackson fed Dack whose cross was headed wide by McDonald at the far post.

From looking on top Gills were pegged back on 59 minutes when Bond spilled a 20-yard strike from Erhun Oztumer into the path of Moussa, who stabbed home the loose ball.

Panic started to set in at the back, Oztumer given the run of the area moments after the equaliser but not getting a shot off.

Gills needed a spark and a lovely jinking run from Oshilaja set up McDonald but Etheridge was sharply off his line to make the save.

McDonald was working his socks off and moving into the last 15 minutes tracked back to make a superb challenge before freeing Jake Hessenthaler, who fired over.

Etheridge then made a flying save from Dack’s 20-yard free-kick after James O’Connor fouled McDonald.

Gillingham: Bond, Jackson, Herd (Knott 66mins), Ehmer, Oshilaja, Wagstaff (Byrne 46mins), Hessenthaler, McDonald, Konchesky, Dack, Wright. Subs not used: Nelson, Donnelly, Pask, Nouble, Emmanuel-Thomas.

Walsall: Etheridge, Edwards, Laird, O'Connor, McCarthy, Chambers, Oztumer, Morris, Toner, Makris, Moussa (Ginnelly 86mins). Subs not used: MacGillvray, Dobson, Osbourne, Kinsella, Preston, Roberts.

Attendance: 5,542 (108 from Walsall).

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