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Gillingham 2 Doncaster Rovers 1: Cameron John credited with two own-goals as Gills fight back to win at Priestfield

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Gillingham boosted their play-off hopes after coming from behind to beat fellow hopefuls Doncaster Rovers.

Visiting defender Cameron John got a touch on Tom O’Connor’s corner to cancel out Ben Sheaf’s opener and then turned a cross in past his own keeper after the break.

Gillingham celebrate what turns out to be the winner Picture: Ady Kerry (29303826)
Gillingham celebrate what turns out to be the winner Picture: Ady Kerry (29303826)

Reaction: It was a gritty performance

Rovers played for more than half the game with 10 men after Feji Okenabirhie was dismissed for an elbow on Barry Fuller.

Victory extended the Gills’ unbeaten run to 13 games in League 1.

Midweek game-changer Stuart O’Keefe was back in the starting XI on Saturday, the only alteration in the starting line-up from the game at Blackpool.

Gillingham boss Steve Evans spoke to a twin challenge pre-match, with Doncaster Rovers sitting better placed than his own team to make the play-offs. Stormy conditions was something both teams - and fans - had to contend with.

The conditions may have played a part in Doncaster’s opener, the ball seemingly holding up as Max Ehmer went in to challenge Sheaf. The visiting midfielder took one touch to make the space and then finished well past Bonham.

Gills defender Jack Tucker had to make several timely interventions to help prevent Doncaster from going further infront, winning challenges on Matty Blair and Sheaf.

Tom O'Connor got Gills level from a corner kick
Tom O'Connor got Gills level from a corner kick

Rovers went a player down in the 38th minute after Fuller went down under a challenge from Okenabirhie. It was the second time a stray arm had caught a Gills player, with Max Ehmer needing treatment earlier after being on the end of a challenge from the same player.

Gillingham got back on level terms in the 44th minute, scoring from a corner that O’Connor whipped in to the near post. Cameron John was credited with an own-goal but the set-piece taker was rightfully claiming it.

Doncaster went close to going back ahead five minutes after the restart when defender Tom Anderson crashed an effort off the upright from 20 yards out.

The Gills went close at the other end when goalkeeper Seny Dieng dropped a cross. Jordan Roberts managed to get a shot away on the floor and hit the side netting.

Connor Ogilvie headed a corner wide for the Gills and Max Ehmer put another one wide after Doncaster had struggled to clear.

There was no question about John’s involvement in Gills’ second goal, turning home Jordan Roberts’ left-side cross with 67 minutes gone.

John Akinde headed a great chance over for the home side as they looked to secure the points. Roberts went close himself as the Gills caught Rovers on the break, hitting the outside of the post, moments after Fuller had blocked Joe Wright’s goal attempt.

The game had really opened up in the latter stages as Rovers threw men forward. The impressive Tucker needed to make another couple of blocks as the visitors worked an opening.

It was a nervy finish and Devante Cole headed a cross back where it came instead of at goal, allowing the home fans to breath a sigh of relief.

A free-kick deep into stoppage-time gave Rovers another chance and Jack Bonham had to tip it over the bar.

Gillingham: Bonham, Fuller, Ogilvie, Ehmer, Tucker, O’Keefe (Willock 64mins), O’Connor, Pringle (Graham 82mins), Hanlan, Roberts (Charles-Cook 90mins), Akinde. Subs: Walsh, Mandron, Lee, Woods.

Doncaster: Dieng, Halliday, Wright, Anderson, John, Whiteman, Sheaf, Blair (Sadlier 72mins), Ramsey, Ennis (Cole 79mins), Okenabirhie. Subs: Jones, Amos, Gomes, Coppinger, Taylor.

Attendance: 4,754 (250 away)

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