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Doncaster Rovers 1 Gillingham 0 League 2 match report: Harrison Biggins scores second-half winner

Gillingham’s miserable away form continued on Saturday as they suffered a narrow defeat at Doncaster in League 2.

The Gills have now scored just twice on their travels all season and left the Gills in the bottom five of the table.

You still have to go back to late March for Gillingham’s last away win in the league, the same month they also won at Doncaster. Both teams kept just three players in their starting line-ups from that day, which saw Gills strike early through Charlie Kelman in a 1-0 win.

Gills make three changes from the team beaten 2-0 at League 2 leaders Leyton Orient in midweek. In came Alex MacDonald, Ryan Law and Scott Kashket with Will Wright, Dom Jefferies and Hakeeb Adelakun dropping to the bench.

Olly Lee was back involved for the first time since the EFL Trophy clash at Charlton, taking his place among the substitutes.

Doncaster left wing-back James Maxwell picked up an early yellow card, perhaps harshly, for a late challenge on Jordan Green in the first 10 minutes, the Gills man had already been in the wars after an early head injury.

The home side had the better chances. A deep corner was headed back across goal by Kyle Knoyle for skipper Tom Anderson, whose effort was punched clear by Gills keeper Glenn Morris.

Morris punched clear on the half-hour to Maxwell, whose fierce drive was well blocked, and it needed an excellent block by Cheye Alexander to deny Kyle Hurst.

Gills threatened at times, encouraged by Doncaster’s insistence of playing out from the back. The hosts nearly pressed the self-destruct button when Ro-Shaun Williams’ backpass was intercepted by Kashket but his touch took the ball out of play.

MacDonald’s header from an Alexander cross lacked power while Law fizzed a 20-yard shot just wide of the upright in stoppage-time after Stuart O’Keefe’s lay-off.

The question now was could Gills put two decent halves of football together. It was only a job half-done at this stage.

The visitors were dealt an early blow when injury curtailed Green’s involvement early in the second half.

Doncaster’s Harrison Biggins then struck a brilliant right-foot 35-yard free-kick which came off the top of the bar and went behind for a goal kick.

It needed an excellent save by Mitchell at the other end to claw away a Max Ehmer header but Doncaster’s bright start to the second half was rewarded on the hour mark with the opening goal.

Knoyle had time to deliver an excellent cross from the right to pick out Biggins, whose header appeared to be deflected past Morris.

The home side upped the intensity, Law picking up a caution for fouling Molyneux and Morris was called into action to save a header low down.

Gills introduced Mikael Mandron with 25 minutes left and he added a greater physical presence up top alongside the willing Walker.

Gillingham manager Neil Harris. Picture: KPI
Gillingham manager Neil Harris. Picture: KPI

Adelakun’s ball over the top found Walker who set up Robbie McKenzie but his 25-yard right-foot shot lacked any power to trouble keeper Mitchell.

Gills boss Neil Harris made a triple change in the closing stages, going to a three-man defence in a bid to put more bodies forward.

Morris made another good stop to deny Doncaster substitute Max Woltman and while Gills did indeed pose a greater threat with more attack-minded players on the pitch they were unable to rescue a point.

Doncaster: Mitchell, Knoyle, Maxwell, Anderson, Williams, Molyneux (Woltman 78mins), Miller, Biggins, Long (Faulkner 71mins), Hurst (Taylor 78mins), Close. Subs not used: Bottomley, Barlow, Seaman, Agard.

Gillingham: Morris, Alexander (Wright 77mins), Ehmer, Baggott, Law (Lee 77mins), Green (Adelakun 51mins), O’Keefe, McKenzie, MacDonald (Jefferies 77mins), Kashket (Mandron 65mins), Walker. Subs not used: Turner, Gbode.

Referee: Chris Pollard.

Attendance: 5,800 (336 away).

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