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Gillingham 1 Doncaster Rovers 3 - League 1 match report

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Gillingham ended the year on a low note as they were well beaten at home.

Former Gills loanee John Marquis put Doncaster ahead with the only goal of an uninspiring first half.

Mallik Wilks capitalised on a defensive mix-up to double the lead and Danny Andrew fired home a third from distance. Gillingham claimed a consolation in the final minute through Callum Reilly.

Brandon Hanlan in action for the Gills Picture: Ady Kerry (6246448)
Brandon Hanlan in action for the Gills Picture: Ady Kerry (6246448)

An unchanged Gills starting eleven was named for the visit of Doncaster, despite the return from injury of leading scorer Tom Eaves.

Regan Charles-Cook dropped out of the squad as Eaves was named among the substitutes.

The previous four games between the two teams had ended in a draw and both sides struggled to get going at Priestfield.

It was Doncaster though who had the better of chances and they deservedly led, a scrappy opener from a scrappy half.

The opening goal came on 28 minutes. Gillingham had chances to clear, with Reilly playing the ball straight back to the visitors and when Ben Whiteman’s shot was blocked, it fell kindly for Marquis and he tucked it home.

Mark Byrne in action for the Gills Picture: Ady Kerry (6246452)
Mark Byrne in action for the Gills Picture: Ady Kerry (6246452)

Prior to that Gills keeper Tomas Holy had dealt with a couple of half chances comfortably.

Gillingham’s first effort of the game came with 33 minutes gone, Gabriel Zakuani heading a corner wide, but that was their only real opportunity. A cross from Elliott List was held by keeper Ian Lawlor as he tried to pick out Hanlan.

Doncaster remained the more threatening with Tommy Rose and Marquis going close again before the interval.

It was no surprise to see Eaves introduced for the second half, replacing Hanlan at the break.

Callum Reilly in action for the Gills Picture: Ady Kerry (6246450)
Callum Reilly in action for the Gills Picture: Ady Kerry (6246450)

Marquis fired narrowly wide shortly after the restart while List’s blocked shot at the other end drew appeals for a penalty from players and management, but referee Neil Hair played on.

Wilks made it 2-0 with 54 minutes gone, running through on goal after a communication mix-up between defender Connor Ogilvie and keeper Holy, allowing the Doncaster man to steal possession and score.

It was 3-0 just after an hour as Andrew tried his luck from 25 yards, a speculative effort that Holy was unable to save. It was another soft goal for the Gills to have conceded on what was turning out to be a day to forget.

Making matters worse were injuries to both Dean Parrett and Fuller, both limping off during the match.

Gillingham threatened in the closing stages but were already three down by then and were unable to work keeper Ian Lawlor. They did get a goal back in the final minute, List's cross was headed against the underside of the bar by Eaves and Reilly followed in to reduce the deficit.

Gillingham: Holy, Fuller (O’Neill 59mins), Ogilvie, Lacey, Zakuani, Parrett (Bingham 26mins), Byrne, Reilly, Parker, List, Hanlan (Eaves 46mins). Subs not used: Hadler, Garmston, Mbo, Rees.

Doncaster: Lawlor, Andrew, Butler, T Anderson, Blair, Whiteman, Kane, Rowe (J Anderson 80mins), Wilks (Crawford 77mins), May (Boocock 90mins), Marquis. Subs not used: Marosi, Blaney, Lund, Gibbon.

Attendance: 4,791 (272 away)

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