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Gillingham 1 Portsmouth 1: Alex Jakubiak cancelled out Gareth Evans’ opener in League 1 clash at Priestfield

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Gillingham’s winning home run was ended by Portsmouth on New Year’s Day - but Alex Jakubiak salvaged a point.

Gareth Evans put the visitors ahead at the break and only the crossbar kept out Stuart O’Keefe’s effort for the Gills.

Alex Jakubiak celebrates scoring the equaliser Picture: Ady Kerry (25685823)
Alex Jakubiak celebrates scoring the equaliser Picture: Ady Kerry (25685823)

Jakubiak came off the bench for the Gills - who had won their previous seven at Priestfield in all competitions - to score with 10 minutes left.

The draw leaves the Gills three points off the play-off places in League 1.

Home boss Steve Evans has decided against changing his side, despite the busy schedule. It was an unchanged XI for the fifth match running.

Portsmouth had picked up their form after a slow start to the campaign but suffered heavy defeats in their last two away from Fratton Park, losing 3-1 at lowly MK Dons on Sunday and 4-1 at Accrington before that.

A surprise change for the visitors saw boss Kenny Jackett drop keeper Craig Macgillvray in preference for the inexperienced Alex Bass, making only his fourth league start.

Bass was called upon early on to save from Olly Lee after Connor Ogilvie’s throw fell kindly in the box.

Gillingham had several penalty shouts turned down in a half where they found the visitors much more dangerous than many of those that had been to Priestfield in recent weeks.

The visitors were able to spread the play and they worked the ball out to the left flank to claim a 36th minute opener. A header won in midfield allowed Marcus Harness to run onto the ball and he squared for Evans to finish.

Before the goal Barry Fuller had to clear a loose ball heading goalwards after Max Ehmer had slid in to block a shot from James Bolton and a low shot from Harness also drew a save from Bonham.

There was drama at the end of the half when O’Keefe beat his man and from an angle drove a powerful effort against the frame of the goal.

At the other end Ronan Curtis had an effort ruled out after Bonham was fouled as he turned the ball home.

Evans sent the same XI out for the start of the second half and they started it brightly, Ehmer firing at the keeper from a deep Barry Fuller cross and Mikael Mandron also testing Bass’s handling.

Lee also fired over for the Gills and Hanlan drove a low shot at the keeper as the Pompey defence retreated.

The visitors always looked a threat on the break, however.

Gills subs had made the difference in the game against Rochdale on the Sunday and with 20 minutes left Jakubiak and Mark Marshall were once again introduced to add fresh ideas to the attack.

Goalkeeper Bass had to help a rising Fuller shot over the bar as their pressure continued.

Gillingham deservedly got back on level terms with 10 minutes left when Ogilvie headed the ball down for Alfie Jones, he found Jakubiak and the striker’s low finish went under the keeper.

Gillingham: Bonham, Fuller, Ogilvie, Ehmer, Tucker, Jones, O’Keefe (Marshall 70mins), O’Connor, Lee, Hanlan, Mandron (Jakubiak 70mins). Subs not used: Walsh, Hodson, Ndjoli, Charles-Cook, Pringle.

Portsmouth: Bass, Walkes, Close, Evans (Hawkins 83mins), Naylor, Burgess, Raggett, Curtis, Bolton, Harness, Harrison (Marquis 83mins). Subs not used: Macgillivray, Downing, Pitman, Cannon, Mnoga.

Attendance: 5,724 (1,180 away)

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