Published: 16:40, 08 February 2020
| Updated: 22:29, 08 February 2020
Gillingham couldn’t take advantage of playing with an extra man in the final 20 minutes as Saturday’s game at Burton ended goalless.
The Gills had drawn nine of their 13 games away from home before the weekend and made that double figures at the Pirelli Stadium.
Burton had Oliver Sarkic dismissed on 67 minutes for a second bookable offence and Tom O’Connor almost won it in stoppage time with a 20-yard effort that struck the bar.
Gillingham boss Steve Evans made a couple of changes for the match, with midfielders Alfie Jones and Stuart O’Keefe both carrying knocks.
Jones was left out while O’Keefe was named on the bench. Matty Willock started in the league for only the second time but went off injured in the second half. O’Connor was back for the Gills after missing the previous two.
Evans’ side went into the match boasting League 1’s longest unbeaten run, hoping to stretch that to 11 on Saturday as the chase for the play-offs continued.
Both sides lacked a clinical edge in the opening half, one where the Gills got lots of the ball early on, before Nigel Clough’s side got into the game.
Matty Willock forced home keeper Kieran O’Hara into a save after just 30 seconds and had another effort blocked moments later.
Burton nearly got themselves infront against the run of play when John Brayford’s inviting cross was missed by both Lucas Akins and Joe Powell. It just needed a touch.
Jordan Roberts had gone close for the visitors, cutting in from the flank before firing in a shot that was deflected wide.
The Gills needed to make a couple of vital blocks midway through the half, as Burton looked more of a threat. Tom O’Connor got in the way of Brayford’s shot after he had been put in on the overlap.
Max Ehmer got in the way of Sarkic’s effort moments later and Colin Daniel’s up and under ball landed on the roof of the net during a good spell for the hosts.
The Gills had a flurry of chances just before the hour mark, with keeper O’Hara saving point blank from Akinde after he met Connor Ogilvie’s cross. Willock had a shot blocked moments later and from the corner Jack Tucker got a brief sight of goal but couldn’t get enough on the header.
It was Willock’s last meaningful involvement as he went down nursing his hamstring, to be replaced by Jordan Graham, who made his Gills debut.
Burton had to play more than 20 minutes with 10 men after Sarkic’s challenge on Ogilvie led to a second booking, punished after going in late on the Gills defender. His first caution had come towards the end of the first half.
A classy first touch from Graham was soon followed by a cross that keeper O’Hara could only get a fingertip to. Lee, arriving at the back post, fired over.
Graham continued to cause problems on the right, delivering crosses for Roberts and Brandon Hanlan that both came close to converting as the Gills looked to make the extra man count.
Burton looked to nick a later winner themselves and came close when Kwame Thomas met a corner at the far post but Bonham was well placed to save.
O’Connor played Hanlan in for a chance at goal which was blocked and then went close himself with a dipping effort that hit the bar. Lee also tried his luck from distance but fired into the empty stand behind the goal.
Burton: O’Hara, Brayford, Daniel, Edwards, Quinn (Thomas 74mins), Akins, Shaughnessy, Sarkic, O’Toole, Powell (Wallace 80mins), Murphy (Nartey 86mins). Subs: Garratt, Fraser, Broadhead, Hutchinson.
Gillingham: Bonham, Fuller, Ogilvie, Ehmer, Tucker, Willock (Graham 66mins), O’Connor, Pringle, Lee, Roberts, Akinde (Hanlan 78mins). Subs: Walsh, O’Keefe, Charles-Cook, Mandron, Woods.
More by this authorLuke Cawdell
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