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Mansfield Town 2 Gillingham 1: League 2 match report from the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Gillingham let slip a lead at Mansfield Town and with it their League 2 play-off hopes.

Tim Dieng put the Gills ahead in the opening half but the hosts put them under pressure in the second half and a quickfire double from substitute Davis Keillor-Dunn and Stephen McLaughlin turned the match on its head.

Gillingham's first-team head coach Stephen Clemence Picture: @Julian_KPI
Gillingham's first-team head coach Stephen Clemence Picture: @Julian_KPI

Opponents Mansfield Town had clinched a top-three promotion spot on Tuesday night but it was the Gills who started the brightest at Field Mill, needing a win to keep alive their play-off hopes..

There was one change to the Gillingham starting eleven with Dom Jefferies replacing the injured George Lapslie.

Jefferies certainly started the game well, with some nice touches to give the Gills an attacking threat down the left side, but a shot towards the end of the half sailed well over.

The Gills were long shots for the play-offs heading into the game with Doncaster, Walsall and Crawley all better placed in the chase for seventh spot.

Gillingham reached the midpoint of Saturday’s a goal ahead but Crawley and Barrow were also winning.

It was a day where eyes were also elsewhere for the Gills.

Dieng had the game’s first chance at goal, with a headed effort over the bar. Gillingham were given an opportunity to get on the attack after home keeper Christy Pym had given the ball away, the first of a couple of nervy moments for the stopper.

Gillingham’s opener was fully deserved, coming after 19 minutes. Jonny Williams fed Dieng the ball and after cutting back from the byline he managed to squeeze the ball home from a tight angle.

Mansfield knocked the ball around in front of Gillingham’s defence but struggled to find a way through. Former Gills man Tom Nichols shot wide with an overhead kick and Louis Reed’s powerful effort was blocked.

There was an early scare for the Gills when Nichols found himself well placed in the box but played it to George Maris and he couldn’t get a decent shot away, leaving Turner able to claim the ball.

Mansfield’s good start to the half continued as Aaron Lewis tested Turner with a better effort moments after which was saved.

The hosts made a trio of substitutes before the hour mark and one of them, David Keillor-Dunn went close to scoring as the Gills struggled to clear. His shot was bent narrowly wide.

Gillingham got some momentary relief from the pressure from a couple of corners which they were unable to make the most of. Head coach Stephen Clemence made changes to try and turn the tide, with Shad Ogie introduced in a change of shape with a back five.

A superb reflex block from Turner denied Keillor-Dunn but the striker couldn’t be denied for long and he fired in an equaliser with 13 minutes left.

McLaughlin struck from 20 yards to complete the turnaround, a fine strike the hit the top corner to put Mansfield ahead with 10 minutes left.

Stephen Quinn almost got a third for Mansfield but Turner stuck out a leg to deny him a stoppage-time goal.

Mansfield: Pym, Akins, Flint, Bowery, McLaughlin (Cooper 90mins), Reed, Maris (Clarke 55mins), Lewis (Keillor-Dunn 55mins), Boateng (Quinn 55mins), Nichols, Gale (MacDonald 88mins). Subs: Flinders, Hewitt.

Gillingham: Turner, Hutton, Clark (Malone 76mins), Masterson, Ehmer, Dieng, Coleman, Jefferies (Ogie 70mins), Mahoney (Walker 70mins), J Williams (McKenzie 59mins), Andrews (Hawkins 76mins). Subs not used: Morris, Clarke.

Referee: Sam Purkiss

Attendance: 8,150 (519 away)

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