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Published: 21:30, 20 August 2019
| Updated: 10:19, 21 August 2019
Gillingham had to settle for a point after failing to hold onto a two-goal advantage at Priestfield.
Watford loanee Alex Jakubiak struck twice for the Gills but Blackpool hit back through Sullay Kaikai and Armand Gnanduillet just before the break.
Both teams went close to a winner during an entertaining second half but it ended all-square.
Gillingham boss Steve Evans said pre-match he had a shortage of options ahead of the fixture and named just six subs, out of a possible seven. One of those - Mikael Mandron - turned up late for the warm-up after having a double puncture on his way to Priestfield.
Regan Charles-Cook was missing, out injured, while Mikael Ndjoli was suspended. Matty Willock remained out.
Gills had taken the lead in their previous three games but were still waiting on a win. The first half had a familiar feel.
Once again they started brightly and were rewarded with a goal after just nine minutes.
Brandon Hanlan had already had a shot saved by keeper Jack Alnwick but the stopper couldn’t reach Jakubiak’s effort soon after.
The Gills striker exchanged passes with Barry Fuller and when the ball came back to him, he placed it inch-perfect past the keeper into the bottom corner.
Evans' side had taken an early lead in their last game, against Burton, and ended up losing 2-1 after conceding twice before the break.
This time around they at least had a two-goal cushion to protect. Jakubiak doubled the lead on 37 minutes when he showed great close control before firing in a shot that had too much power for keeper Alnwick.
It proved to be a frantic end to the half. Gnanduiullet shot just wide for the visitors before Sullay Kaikai bent the ball past Jack Bonham to halve Gills' lead with 41 minutes played.
Curtis Tilt smashed an effort off the post moments later and in an end-to-end finish to the half Stuart O’Keefe diverted Elliott List’s cross just the wrong side of the post.
Unfortunately the Gills couldn’t take their lead into the break as deep into stoppage-time Gnanduillet headed home an equalising goal from Liam Feeney’s cross.
Gillingham needed to make a few timely interceptions to keep Blackpool at bay early in the second half, with Barry Fuller halting the run of Liam Feeney and a combination of Max Ehmer and Connor Ogilvie thwarting Gnanduillet.
For the Gills, showing plenty of attacking intent, there were several more inviting balls into the box that had no takers.
Gnanduillet remained a constant threat and his deflected shot landed just wide of the goal for Blackpool with 20 minutes left.
Both goalkeepers excelled themselves late on. Bonham stretched out an arm to divert Kaikai’s powerful volley wide, moments before Gills sub Mandron was denied by Alnwick as he met a corner at the far post, almost scoring with his first touch.
The Gills pushed for a winner in the latter stages, with a flurry of corners, but Jordan Thompson nearly won it for the visitors, firing over from close-range. There were penalty appeals when Hanlan went down inthe box in stoppage-time but no winner could be found.
Gillingham: Bonham, Hodson, Fuller, Ehmer, Ogilvie, O'Keefe, Jones, List (Marshall 73mins), Byrne, Jakubiak (Mandron 80mins), Hanlan. Subs not used: Walsh, Cisse, Woods, Tucker
Blackpool: Alnwick, Bushiri (Nottingham 73mins), Edwards, Delfoueso (Guy 29mins), Spearing, Kaikai, Feeney (Anderton 84mins), Thompson, Tilt, Turton, Gnanduillet. Subs not used: Mafoumbi, Hardie, Pritchard, Shaw.
Attendance: 4,390 (308 away)
More by this authorLuke Cawdell
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