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MK Dons 1 Gillingham 0 – League 1 match report

By Luke Cawdell

Josh Wright missed a late penalty as Gillingham drew another blank infront of goal on Saturday.

The Gills are now without a goal from their last five competitive games.

MK Dons needed just the one goal to take maximum points, ending their own goal drought when new signing Osman Sow headed home early in the second half.

Gills striker Liam Nash in the thick of it at MK Dons Picture: Ady Kerry
Gills striker Liam Nash in the thick of it at MK Dons Picture: Ady Kerry

Goalkeeper Tomas Holy denied MK a late second from the penalty spot, saving from Kieran Agard, before Wright fired over a Gills spot-kick with two minutes left.

Gillingham haven’t scored since Rory Donnelly netted a 65 minute goal in the 3-2 defeat to Fleetwood, in the penultimate game of last season.

Gillingham’s two new signings, keeper Steve Arnold and defender Ben Nugent, were named among the subs at Stadium MK. The only change to the starting XI came upfront where suspended Conor Wilkinson was replaced by Tom Eaves.

Saturday’s game was between two teams who had failed to find the net in their opening two league fixtures. MK had gone three home games with a goal and responded to that baron spell by starting new signing Sow upfront against the Gills.

Gills striker Tom Eaves challenges for the ball Picture: Ady Kerry
Gills striker Tom Eaves challenges for the ball Picture: Ady Kerry

MK’s last goal at home came towards the end of last season, in the 3-2 win over Ady Pennock’s Gillingham on April 1. That was the last time the Gills had scored away.

The Gills went two-down early on in that game and while the Gills did look stronger defensively, once again they lacked punch at the top end of the pitch.

Several chances for the Gills went wide of the mark in the opening half, one of which came from Josh Parker. The striker also had an effort blocked as home defender Scott Wootton stood firm inside the area.

In a half that lacked flair, Gboly Ariyibi produced a rare moment of class that nearly unlocked the Gills defence. His jinking run beat a few defenders but the resulting shot sailed over the bar.

Gills defender Max Ehmer showed his best and worst side, making a great last-ditch block to deny Sow before putting his team in trouble after losing possession midway inside his own half. Gabriel Zakuani brought the break to a halt with a foul on the edge of the box and Sow’s subsequent free-kick took a nick off the wall to go harmlessly over.

Connor Ogilvie in action for the Gills at MK Dons Picture: Ady Kerry
Connor Ogilvie in action for the Gills at MK Dons Picture: Ady Kerry

Sow got MK’s opener, heading home in the 47 minute. The big striker dropped off his marker Alex Lacey and guided a header past keeper Tomas Holy.

Gillingham looked a threat after conceding, getting balls into the box from out wide, but MK were always the more dangerous. Tshibola played in Ariyibi on the edge of the area, bringing Holy into action and he saved well.

Wright had a shot blocked for the Gills and Lee Martin was denied by a last-ditch challenge, as Pennock’s men did at least give MK some problems.

Holy saved from Agard’s 83 minute penalty, after he had been adjudged to have fouled in the box when it looked like he had won the ball fairly. The Gills keeper then got up and also saved the follow-up.

Gillingham had a penalty of their own five minutes later and a chance to finally score, when home keeper Lee Nicholls fouled Liam Nash, but Wright blazed the spot-kick well over the bar into the away fans.

Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Ogilvie, Lacey (Oldaker 81mins), Zakuani, Ehmer, Wright, Byrne, Martin, Eaves, Parker (Nash 62mins). Subs not used: Arnold, Hessenthaler, Nugent, Simpson, Cundle.

MK Dons: Nicholls, Williams, Walsh, Wootton, Ariyibi (Upson 81mins), Cissé, Sow (Agard 60mins), Seager, Muirhead (Pawlett 52mins), Ebanks-Landell, Tshibola. Subs not used: Sietsma, Lewington, McGrandles, Brittain.

Attendance: 7,901 (583 away)

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