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Gillingham 0 Rotherham 1 match report

Gillingham’s problems in front of goal continued when they lost to Rotherham.

They drew a blank at Priestfield for the fourth time in five matches as Will Vaulks’ first-half goal gave the Millers victory.

The Gills were looking for their first win in seven games against an away side who knew victory would clinch a League 1 play-off place.

Frustration for Gills striker Josh Parker Picture: Andy Payton
Frustration for Gills striker Josh Parker Picture: Andy Payton

Little came off in a poor first half for the Gills that started brightly enough but quickly fizzled out, while the visitors looked like they had something to play for.

Rotherham mixed up play nicely, knowing when to hit big Michael Smith up front and when to keep the ball, but Gillingham looked short of ideas at times.

That said, there were a couple of early chances for Steve Lovell’s men, with Gabriel Zakuani’s header from a Luke O’Neill taking a touch off a Rotherham defender on its way over the bar, while Conor Wilkinson also threatened from an O’Neill cross.

Callum Reilly had a penalty appeal turned down on the quarter-hour and Rotherham took the lead five minutes later.

Powerhouse full-back Josh Emmanuel, making one of several strong bursts down the right, played in a low cross to Smith who teed up up Vaulks on the edge of the box.

Scott Wagstaff takes a tumble Picture: Andy Payton
Scott Wagstaff takes a tumble Picture: Andy Payton

Vaulks grew in confidence after his goal, taking charge of midfield as Gillingham, who’d lost Zakuani to injury, struggled to get going.

They did have the ball in the net but Josh Parker’s header from Mark Byrne’s cross was ruled out for offside.

Rotherham remained on top at the start of the second half so Lovell soon made another change, bringing on top scorer Tom Eaves in place of defender Connor Ogilvie.

But Rotherham went close again just after, Tomas Holy down well to touch Richard Wood’s effort past the post and from the corner Wood saw his his header blocked.

It really should have been two midway through the half with Ryan Willams through all on his own from Vaulks’ pass only to roll the ball wide of the far post.

Action from Gillingham v Rotherham Picture: Andy Payton
Action from Gillingham v Rotherham Picture: Andy Payton

Another big opportunity followed after Smith intercepted a pass in the Gills half and fed Matt Palmer whose cross was headed wide by Williams.

Eaves had an optimistic penalty appeal waved away before Rotherham missed another simple chance, Smith shanking wide from Jon Taylor’s cross when it was easier to score.

O’Neill sent a late free-kick wide for the Gills, while Jake Hessenthaler’s fierce effort was parried by Marek Rodak.

Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Ehmer, Zakuani (Nugent 24mins), Wagstaff, Hessenthaler, Wilkinson, Ogilvie (Eaves 51mins), Parker, Reilly, Byrne. Subs not used: Hadler, Stevenson, List, Nash, Nasseri.

Rotherham: Rodak, Emmanuel, Vaulks, Wood, Palmer, Taylor (Forde 78mins), Towell (Ajayi 65mins), Purrington, Ihiekwe, Williams, Smith (Lavery 81mins). Subs not used: Price, Ball, Newell, Cummings.

Attendance: 4,029 (162 away).

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