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Portsmouth 1 Gillingham 1: Sean Raggett’s goal cancelled out by Vadaine Oliver at Fratton Park in League 1 clash

Gillingham were gifted an equaliser at Portsmouth but the point was the least they deserved against the promotion chasers.

Sean Raggett headed Portsmouth infront but Gillingham levelled before the break when Vadaine Oliver capitalised on a weak pass back to the keeper from home defender Lee Brown. The Gills had a flurry of second half chances but couldn’t convert.

Vadaine Oliver was on target for Gillingham at Portsmouth Picture: Keith Gillard
Vadaine Oliver was on target for Gillingham at Portsmouth Picture: Keith Gillard

Gillingham were looking to bounce back from their midweek disappointment at AFC Wimbledon - a 1-0 defeat that did their hopes of a play-off push no favours - but manager Steve Evans opted against wholesale changes. His team reacted well against a side starting the day fourth in the table, enjoying the best of the second half chances.

John Akinde and Robbie McKenzie dropped out as Stuart O’Keefe and Jordan Graham were preferred in the starting line-up. Both had helped the Gills to improve after coming off the bench at Wimbledon.

Gillingham were almost behind after just 90 seconds when Pompey broke, the upright coming to their rescue after Ronan Curtis found Marcus Harness and his shot beat the dive of Jack Bonham.

Gillingham keeper Bonham saved well from Harvey White but was beaten on 32 minutes.

It was a run from Harness that led to the Portsmouth opener on 32 minutes. Olly Lee had lost the ball and when the Portsmouth player then left Tom O’Connor and Connor Ogilvie behind, his cross was met by Raggett and headed beyond Bonham.

Portsmouth gifted the Gills an equaliser, Lee Brown looking to chest the ball back to keeper Craig MacGillivray, but Oliver was alert as the ball lacked any pace and he fired home five minutes before the break.

Bonham saved from Curtis as Pompey looked to respond immediately but the Gills had another chance of their own before the break, a speculative effort from Lee that had MacGillivray struggling. He got a hand to the shot and needed Raggett to head clear from under the bar.

Harrison had the ball in the net for Portsmouth on the hour, after converting Brown’s cross, but the finish came as referee Tim Robinson signalled that Jordan Graham had been fouled in the build-up.

Bonham was kept busy and made a good save to keep out a White volley but an even better block from the subsequent corner as Tom Naylor glanced a header at goal.

Oliver kept the Portsmouth defenders busy and he wriggled free with 20 minutes left, turning and shooting from the edge of the box, an effort that only missed the target by a fraction.

Gillingham enjoyed a good spell of possession and Oliver should have found the target from a super Graham cross, heading the chance over.

The Gills went close again moments later as Dempsey advanced and when his cross was only half cleared O’Connor fired over. Chances kept coming and Akinde headed wide from another Graham cross.

Dempsey smashed a shot narrowly wide and Robbie Cundy headed a late chance wide. Only a good save from the keeper denied Akinde in stoppage-time.

Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, Ogilvie, Tucker, Cundy, Dempsey, O'Keefe, O'Connor, Lee (Akinde 73mins), Graham, Oliver. Subs not used: Bastien, Willock, Morton, Woods, Johnson, McKenzie.

Portsmouth: MacGillivray, Brown, Naylor, Raggett, Curtis (Williams 79mins), Cannon, Nicolaisen, White, Mnoga (Whatmough 85mins), Harrison (Marquis 59mins), Harness. Subs not used: Ward, Byers, Daniels, Hiwula.

Referee: Tim Robinson

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