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Shrewsbury Town 2 Gillingham 2 - League 1 match

By Luke Cawdell

Gillingham surrendered their first half advantage at Shrewsbury but at least claimed a point.

Tom Eaves netted a 90th minute goal to cancel out a late strike from Ollie Norburn.

Brandon Hanlan’s goal had separated the sides at the break but Lee Angol levelled it up in the second half, before both teams struck late on.

Tom Eaves fires home for the Gills Picture: Ady Kerry (4483241)
Tom Eaves fires home for the Gills Picture: Ady Kerry (4483241)

The Gills were forced to defend for much of the game and it’s now eight games in League 1 without a win, 10 in all competitions.

Gills boss Steve Lovell made three changes to his line-up, with Regan Charles-Cook and Connor Ogilvie dropping out through injury. Luke O’Neill was prefered as the right-back, in place of Barry Fuller, while Alex Lacey was the man chosen to play at the base of a midfield diamond.

Gillingham were looking for their first win in seven League 1 outings, against a team who had also made a stuttering start to the season, and they started the game positively enough. Bradley Garmston’s early cross was almost turned into his own net by defender Luke Waterfall.

Shaun Whalley was involved in most of Shrewsbury’s best moves but the home side found themselves behind after 18 minutes. Hanlan bundled the ball home, for his second of the season, after keeper Joel Coleman failed to hold onto Max Ehmer’s shot.

The first half was a stop-start affair, already running late after the groundsman was needed to fix a hole in the net while the players awaited kick off. Keeper Tomas Holy and defender Gabriel Zakuani both needed lengthy treatment to head injuries in the opening half.

Brandon Hanlan gets the opener Picture: Ady Kerry (4483237)
Brandon Hanlan gets the opener Picture: Ady Kerry (4483237)

Shrewsbury began to boss the half towards the latter stages, Aaron Amadi-Holloway wasting the best chance, heading straight at a patched-up Holy when he was picked out by Whalley’s excellent cross.

Whalley had an effort saved himself, put another cross just over the head of Lee Angol and opened things up for Anthony Grant with a great dummy, only for the Shrewsbury midfielder to fire over.

Zakuani clattered into Amadi-Holloway in first half stoppage-time, typifying Gills’ determined effort at the back, under increasing pressure. The break finally came shortly after Greg Docherty fizzed a ball into the box, a cross/shot that went narrowly wide.

The second half was also delayed, as the two teams awaited the emergence of Holy, sporting an even bigger bandage.

Shrewsbury put the pressure on at the start of the second half, constantly attacking down Gills’ left flank, and that’s where a deserved equaliser came from after 59 minutes. Ollie Norburn’s cross found its way to Angol who spun and curled the ball beyond Holy from inside the box.

Norburn tundered an effort over the bar for the home side, who continued to have the majority of the possession.

Angol put another effort wide for the hosts, who had been wasteful. O’Neill almost made them pay with a free-kick that he bent just wide, clipping the woodwork on the way out.

Shrewsbury thought they had won it when Norburn turned home a cross from substitute Alex Gilliead on 87 minutes but moments later the Gills levelled, when Eaves shrugged off a defender and fired home low past the keeper.

Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Garmston (Fuller 55mins), Ehmer, Zakuani, Lacey, Reilly, Byrne, Parrett (Rees 64mins), Parker (Eaves 68mins), Hanlan. Subs: Wilkinson, Nasseri, Simpson, Hadler.

Shrewsbury: Coleman, Emmanuel, Sadler, Beckles, Walley, Norburn, Grant (Gilliead 87mins), Waterfall, Docherty, Angol, Amadi-Holloway (John-Lewis 77mins). Subs: Arnold, Okenabirhie, Bolton, Laurent, Barnett.

Attendance: 5,695 (217 away)

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