Home   Medway   Sport   Article

Gillingham 2 Swindon Town 2 match report: Substitute Harry McKirdy denies Gills win after second-half goal from Oli Hawkins and substitute Connor Mahoney’s penalty

A stoppage-time equaliser prevented Gillingham doing the League 2 double over Swindon for the season on Tuesday.

Trailing to Sean McGurk’s first-half goal, the Gills turned the match on its head after the restart through Oli Hawkins and Connor Mahoney with a penalty, the Huddersfield loanee having also got the winning goal at Swindon earlier this season.

Oli Hawkins celebrates his goal in Gillingham’s 2-2 home draw against Swindon on Tuesday. Picture: @Julian_KPI
Oli Hawkins celebrates his goal in Gillingham’s 2-2 home draw against Swindon on Tuesday. Picture: @Julian_KPI

But substitute Harry McKirdy ensured it finished 2-2 in the latest edition of a historic “rivalry” which dates back to 1979.

The first opportunity at Priestfield came Gillingham’s way with 10 minutes played in front of a crowd of 6,096. Remeao Hutton won possession and crossed from the right, only for the visiting defence to scramble the ball back to goalkeeper Jack Bycroft.

Seven minutes later, Bycroft again had to be alert to deal with a wild pass by the recalled McGurk - from the home side’s half! But he stayed calm under pressure.

Hutton was in the thick of it again for the Gills. His left-footed cross from the right was taken towards goal by the wind, as Bycroft tipped over.

Midway through the first period, Stephen Clemence’s side had a goal disallowed after a succession of corners. Conor Masterson chested down from Jonny Williams’ cross before he fired home but was denied by the offside flag.

Remeao Hutton in action at Priestfield against Swindon. Picture: @Julian_KPI
Remeao Hutton in action at Priestfield against Swindon. Picture: @Julian_KPI

But the Robins went in front against the run of play, much to the delight of their travelling fans. McGurk cut inside the home defence and fired past Jake Turner to find the top corner in style for his first senior professional goal.

McGurk went close to another shortly after the half-hour mark but, this time, Turner parried his effort away.

Masterson blazed over from the edge of the penalty box as he found space after good interplay between Pembury-born Williams and Hutton before Paul Glatzel volleyed over a left-wing delivery by away left-back Williams Kokolo.

Three minutes before the break, striker Josh Walker squandered a huge chance for Gillingham.

Hawkins flicked on a huge free-kick from Turner, only for Walker to miscue his attempted volley and then be met by the on-rushing Bycroft from his header.

Injured Gillingham defender Shadrach Ogie is helped off the field at the end of the first half. Picture: @Julian_KPI
Injured Gillingham defender Shadrach Ogie is helped off the field at the end of the first half. Picture: @Julian_KPI

The Robins really should have doubled their lead in first-half stoppage time.

Glatzel was played through by Charlie Austin and rounded Turner, although he was met by a last-ditch challenge by Gills defender Shadrach Ogie - a tackle which ended his evening.

A plethora of half-time changes saw the hosts bring on Mahoney and Jorge Hurtado for the injured Ogie and Walker while Swindon’s Aaron Drinan replaced midfielder Jake Cain.

Austin twice went close, stabbing over substitute Drinan right-wing cross before he curled inches wide.

Somehow both teams then missed with gilt-edged chances on 63 minutes. First, a long throw found Masterson at the back post and he inexplicably nodded against the crossbar from yards out.

Action from Gillingham’s game against Swindon. Picture: @Julian_KPI
Action from Gillingham’s game against Swindon. Picture: @Julian_KPI

Glatzel appeared to have made Gillingham pay with a second for his side as he slotted underneath Turner, although his effort was the subject of a goal-line clearance from Hutton.

And the home team equalised midway through the second period. Hawkins headed past Bycroft from a Max Clark cross after the ball had hit the post from the initial phase of play which started with Hutton’s delivery.

With 18 minutes to go, Gillingham boss Clemence was booked by referee Declan Bourne.

Max Ehmer then was in the right place at the right time to clear off the line to deny McKirdy.

With 11 minutes left, it was Gillingham who got the third goal. Colombian Watford loanee Hurtado was brought down after a mazy run by Robins defender Frazer Blake-Tracey and Mahoney made no mistake from the spot, despite Bycroft going the right way with the penalty.

Jonny Williams takes control of the ball for the Gills. Picture: @Julian_KPI
Jonny Williams takes control of the ball for the Gills. Picture: @Julian_KPI

Looking to seal the win, Masterson headed in but was thwarted by the offside flag.

McKirdy nodded wide for the Robins in the final minute of normal time and fired over at the start of six minutes of stoppage time.

The Robins levelled in the penultimate minute of injury time. Bycroft came up for a corner and that was only half-cleared as far as McKirdy who hammered into the bottom corner.

In the eighth minute of added time, a Gills corner was deflected towards goal, only to be kept out by a great save by Bycroft at the end of a breathless affair.

The result leaves the Gills ninth in the table, level on points with seventh-placed Notts County, while Swindon, who remain with just one league win in 2024, are 17th.

Gillingham were unchanged from last Friday’s 3-1 victory at Notts County while Swindon's interim head coach Gavin Gunning made three changes to his starting line-up from the team held 1-1 by Salford on Saturday.

They were captained by returning former Premier League forward Austin, as McGurk and Cain also came in.

Gillingham: Turner, Clark, Masterson, Ehmer, Williams (Malone 74mins), Hawkins (McKenzie 84mins), Coleman, Ogie (Mahoney 46mins), Hutton, Dieng (Lapslie 84mins), Walker (Hurtado 46mins). Subs not used: Morris, Nadesan.

Swindon Town: Bycroft, Blake-Tracy, McEachran (Brewitt 84mins), Glatzel (Elbouzedi 70mins), McGurk (Hepburn-Murphy 63mins), Cain (Drinan 46mins), Kokolo, Devoy, Godwin-Malife, Austin (McKirdy 63mins), McCarthy. Subs not used: Brann, Minturn.

Referee: Declan Bourne.

Attendance: 6,096 (264 away fans).

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More