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Forest Green Rovers 0 Gillingham 0 match report: League 2 game ends goalless

Gillingham collected their first away point under head coach Stephen Clemence after a drab goalless draw on Friday night.

It was a case of two points dropped as Gillingham failed to create enough chances against a team in the League 2 relegation zone.

Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence. Picture: @Julian_KPI
Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence. Picture: @Julian_KPI

On this showing, it was no surprise these two sides are the lowest goalscorers in the division.

Gills made one change from the team that lost to Bradford last Saturday, with Jayden Clarke coming into the team.

Referee Sam Allison was the man in the middle ahead of his first Premier League game on Boxing Day - Sheffield United v Luton. He’ll be the first Black referee in the Premier League for 15 years.

The first half was played at a slow pace, and while Gills were content to keep the ball at the back, there seemed little tempo as they tried to move forward. Macauley Bonne was too often an isolated figure against the towering Ryan Inniss and neither Ethan Coleman or Tim Dieng were able to get into the contest in the middle of the park.

Inniss headed over in the second minute from a left-wing corner as Rovers tried to make a fast start under new head coach Troy Deeney.

Gills worked their way into the penalty area on 18 minutes as Bonne fed Clarke but his nifty footwork saw him beat a defender and pull back - only for no-one to arrive for a simple tap-in.

Gills were struggling to contain the running of Charlie McCann and he set up Callum Morton, whose 20th-minute shot was beaten away by keeper Jake Turner.

Turner’s opposite number was in the book on 25 minutes as Rovers keeper Luke Daniels punched clear on the edge of the box. While Daniels’ feet were inside the penalty area, his outstretched arm clearly wasn’t and it presented Gills with a great opportunity.

However, in keeping with the quality on show, Connor Mahoney blazed the resulting free-kick well over the bar.

Scott Malone endured a tough opening half-hour and an error nearly proved costly as he conceded possession cheaply. In a bid to help back, he got back to challenge Matty Stevens in the box but the referee deemed there wasn’t enough contact to award a penalty.

Stevens then blazed horribly over from a well-worked McCann corner as Rovers took encouragement from their display.

Rovers had another chance just before half-time but Inniss’ header from a deep free-kick was comfortably tipped over by Turner.

Gills won a series of corners at the start of the second half but too many of them were sent straight to the head of Inniss who was able to clear.

Gills coach Clemence made a double change just before the hour with Tom Nichols and Ashley Nadesan coming on. It would have been a triple switch but Jonny Williams’ shirt appeared to have been left in the dressing room so he came on once that had been retrieved.

Defensively, Gills improved in the second half and Rovers were struggling to create any worthwhile chances.

Mahoney did well to work a short corner midway through the half but he then dragged his shot wide of the near post from 20 yards.

If one team was going to win it, then it looked like the Gills. Dieng’s header from a deep Williams corner was brilliantly pushed away low down by Daniels with 14 minutes left.

Then just a minute later, Dieng shot inches wide from the edge of the box after clever footwork by Mahoney who twisted one way and then the other.

Forest Green: Daniels, Inniss, McAllister, McCann (Bendle 84mins), Stevens (Omotoye 65mins), Moore-Taylor, Robson, Dabo (Bernard 65mins), Bunker, Jones (Brown 78mins), Morton. Subs not used: Searle, Johnson, Jenks.

Gillingham: Turner, Masterson, Ehmer, Lapslie (Nadesan 59mins), Malone, McKenzie (Alexander 84mins), Clarke (Williams 63mins), Coleman, Mahoney, Dieng, Bonne (Nichols 59mins). Subs not used: Morris, Hawkins, Ogie.

Referee: Sam Allison.

Attendance: n/a

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