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Rochdale 2 Gillingham 2: Jordan Roberts scores twice for the Gills but Stephen Dooley denied them a win

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Two goals from loan striker Jordan Roberts weren’t enough to clinch a win for the Gills at Rochdale.

Ipswich loanee Roberts got off the mark for Gillingham as he cancelled out Ian Henderson’s penalty and put them infront after the break.

Jordan Roberts levelled from the penalty spot for the Gills in the first half
Jordan Roberts levelled from the penalty spot for the Gills in the first half

Stephen Dooley levelled it back up to deny the Gills a win but they did at least extend their unbeaten run in League 1 to nine games, with draws from their last four.

Gills’ last three visits to Spotland had seen them lose 3-0, 3-0 and 4-1, one of those games being the final straw for former boss Ady Pennock’s tenure.

With just one win in their last 13 visits to the Dale history wasn’t on the Gills’ side but they did have a top new signing in their ranks on Saturday.

John Akinde was handed an immediate start for the Gills, just a day after completing a move from Lincoln City.

The Gills changed shape with their new man spearheading the side but the game at Spotland took some time to kick into life.

Home goalie Jay Lynch almost had an early mishap when the ball bobbled on the dreadful surface, almost allowing Akinde to pounce. The rugby league markings gave away the reason for the cut-up pitch.

Rochdale took a 28th minute lead from the penalty spot after Gills keeper Jack Bonham had raced out to challenge Rhys Norrington Davies, missing the ball but taking out the player.

Ian Henderson - a hat-trick hero when Gillingham were last at Spotland - sent Bonham the wrong way with the spot-kick to put Dale infront. It’s seven goals for the Dale striker in four seasons against the Gills.

It didn’t take the Gills much time to get back on level terms, however.

The goal came from an Olly Lee corner, awarded after the same player’s free-kick had been deflected wide. He swung in the flag-kick and Roberts was on hand to head home.

Jimmy Keohane shot wide for the hosts as the game opened up towards the end of the second half and Brandon Hanlan put a shot at the keeper after Alfie Jones had picked him out in space.

Home debutant Tyler Smith fired over early in the second half and went close with another effort after being picked out by Rhys Norrington-Davies.

Roberts put the Gills infront just before the hour mark when Ogilvie’s long throw was knocked into his path by Akinde and he smashed it home from close range.

Rochdale were soon back on level terms when Dooley fired home with 68 minutes gone, finishing well from inside the box after a long clearance from the keeper had been nodded into his path.

Stuart O’Keefe was well positioned moments later to clear off the line after Aaron Wilbraham swung the ball in. At the other end Roberts went close with a shot after picking up a stray ball.

Wilbraham came close to converting a Henderson cross while Akinde’s last contribution before being subbed was a header from a corner that the keeper claimed from under his crossbar.

Substitute Mikael Mandron had a great chance to win it in stoppage time but his shot was blocked by the keeper, making himself big to deny the Frenchman.

Done went close in the third minute of added-on time, attempting a 40-yard lob that went just over. In an end to end finish Henderson also went close, firing just wide.

Rochdale: Lynch, Norrington-Davies, O’Connell, Dooley, Williams (Done 68mins), Smith (Wilbraham 68mins), Keohane (Rathbone 55mins), McShane, Ryan, Henderson, Matheson. Subs not used: Lillis, McNulty, Morley, Tavares.

Gillingham: Bonham, Fuller, Ogilvie, Ehmer, Tucker, Jones, O’Keefe, Lee (Willock 85mins), Roberts (Jakubiak 87mins), Hanlan, Akinde (Mandron 78mins). Subs not used: Walsh, Hodson, Charles-Cook, Pringle.

Attendance: 3,084 (264 away)

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