Published: 16:40, 28 April 2018
| Updated: 18:11, 28 April 2018
Gillingham snatched a late draw at Bristol Rovers and their League 1 safety has been assured.
Elliott List scored in stoppage-time to level the game, cancelling out Dominic Telford’s opener.
The draw, coupled with results elsewhere, meant the Gills have escaped a last-game relegation decider.
Gillingham, lining up 4-2-3-1 for Saturday’s game, knew a win would end any lingering threats of a final-day battle against the drop.
Going into the game, they hadn’t tasted victory in their previous eight. Boss Steve Lovell made four changes to his starting XI, including the return in goal of Tomas Holy.
Bradley Garmston and Gabriel Zakuani were back in defence following injury while Scott Wagstaff was recalled.
Returning keeper Holy wasn’t tested in the opening half, the nearest Rovers got was when Ellis Harrison was presented with a chance from Garmston’s weak backpass, but the striker shot wide.
Harrison also shot wide in the early stages while Tom Nichols put a long-range effort past the post.
Tom Eaves hit the post midway through the opening half, hooking an effort at goal after Mark Byrne’s long throw bounced in the box. Lee Martin was on hand to turn the loose ball home but was adjudged to have been offside.
Rovers were straight on the attack in the second half, forcing Holy into an early save with a low shot from distance, struck at goal by Liam Sercombe.
Sercombe tried his luck again moments later but a vicious effort, seemingly on target, bounced wide off team-mate Harrison.
Martin, denied a goal in the first half by the linesman, should have netted after connecting with Luke O’Neill’s pinpoint free-kick but the chance was headed over.
Callum Reilly came close to scoring, but his goalbound effort was blocked by Tom Lockyer.
Rovers sub Dom Telford blasted a shot wide form the hosts.
Conor Wilkinson’s introduction led to a switch in formation for the Gills, reverting to 4-4-2 for the last 20-odd minutes.
Wilkinson shot wide and Martin had a shot saved by keeper Sam Slocombe.
The Gills conceded late on through Telford as he followed up a blocked shot but the match ended all-square when List fired home at the death.
It was List’s first competitive goal but the Gills have now gone nine games without a win.
Bristol Rovers: Slocombe, Clarke, Brown, Craig, Lockyer, Sercombe, Lines, Moore (Broom 75mins), Bennett, Nichols (Telford 60mins), Harrison (Gaffney 60mins). Subs not used: Smith, Broadbent, Bola, Mensah.
Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Garmston, Ehmer, Zakuani, Byrne, Reilly, Wagstaff, Martin, Parker (Wilkinson 68mins), Eaves (List 75mins). Subs not used: Hadler, Hessenthaler, Ogilvie, Nugent, Nasseri.
Attendance: 9,715 (410 away)
More by this authorLuke Cawdell