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Tranmere Rovers 2 Gillingham 2: A quickfire double denies Gills victory at Prenton Park

Gillingham let slip a two-goal lead at Tranmere on Saturday and had to settle for a point.

Goals from Alex Jakubiak and Alfie Jones gave Gillingham the advantage at the break.

But that lead was wiped out in the space of four second half minutes with goals from Connor Jennings and Paul Mullin.

Alex Jakubiak challenges with Liam Ridehalgh Picture: Ady Kerry (16255547)
Alex Jakubiak challenges with Liam Ridehalgh Picture: Ady Kerry (16255547)

Both teams went into the match with similar records, each with a solitary league win before the weekend, both beating Bolton 5-0.

Tranmere snatched an injury-time equaliser at Rotherham the previous week, scored by former Gills player Stefan Payne.

Gills’ new signing Ben Pringle was included from the off on Saturday while Mikael Mandron’s impressive midweek showing earned him a first league start for the club, playing upfront with Jakubiak.

Gillingham were unable to make the most of several balls into the box, with Mark Byrne hurling in a couple of long throws and Pringle bending in a corner.

It was the hosts who came closest to scoring, with their limited opportunities, when Mullin struck the far upright after beating Jack Bonham with a shot across goal.

Mikael Ndjoli tries to shrug off George Ray Picture: Ady Kerry (16255543)
Mikael Ndjoli tries to shrug off George Ray Picture: Ady Kerry (16255543)

The Gills took the lead in the 16th minute, scoring through Jakubiak. He was quick to react after Max Ehmer’s shot from Olly Lee’s corner had been saved by keeper Scott Davies.

Davies did well to keep it at one when he then denied Mandron moments later. The striker was put through on goal thanks to Kieron Morris’ poor backpass but the goalie came out to deny the Gills man. From Lee’s subsequent corner Connor Ogilvie couldn’t quite convert at the back post.

Mullin went close with another low shot towards the far corner but Bonham got a fingertip on it to send the ball wide.

A second Gillingham goal arrived on 36 minutes, with Jones claiming it. Davies flapped at a Pringle cross and the ball landed at the feet of Ehmer, who then laid the ball off for his team-mate to finish with ease.

The home fans’ frustration wasn’t helped when referee Michael Salisbury quite rightly ignored their penalty appeals after Manny Monthe went down in the box under pressure from Ehnmer, whose hands never touched the big home defender.

A great save from Jack Bonham denied Tranmere from pulling one back early in the second half. Mullin put Jennings through but the keeper spread himself well to make the save.

Either side of that effort Ogilvie did well to get in the way of Ollie Banks’ drilled shot and Mullin curled one wide.

Tranmere kept looking for a way back in and thought they had found a way when Mullin got the better of Ogilvie as he chased a high ball, but referee Salisbury gave a foul on the Gills man for a shove, as the ball bounced into the net.

Mikael Mandron challneges with Manny Monthe Picture: Ady Kerry (16255545)
Mikael Mandron challneges with Manny Monthe Picture: Ady Kerry (16255545)

Tranmere did manage get on the scoresheet, scoring not once but twice, to wipe out Gills’ lead, but not before Bonham had saved a penalty, denying Mullin after the same player had been fouled in the box by Barry Fuller.

Bonham’s save from the spot-kick led to a corner and from that the hosts eventually scored. The Gills keeper did well to deny Monthe and Darren Potter had a shot blocked but Jennings poked home the loose ball with 66 minutes gone.

Four minutes later and Tranmere levelled it up. Jennings’ flick on found Payne and he in turn fed Mullin, who teed himself up with a great first touch to get past Fuller before firing home.

Jennings looked to win it with a curling effort in stoppage-time, which was saved by Bonham, and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy's tantalising cross late on flashed across goal without a taker.

Tranmere: Davies, Ridehalgh, Nelson (Woods 46mins), Ray, Monthe, Morris (Banks 46mins), Potter, Mullin, Jennings, Perkins, Payne. Subs: Pilling, Hepburn-Murphy, Ponticelli, Gilmour, Borthwick-Jackson.

Gillingham: Bonham, Fuller, O’Connor, Ehmer, Ogilvie, Jones, Pringle (O’Keefe 74mins), Byrne, Lee (Ndjoli 80mins), Jakubiak, Mandron (Hanlan 78mins). Subs: Walsh, Cisse, Marshall, Tucker.

Attendance: Not given

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