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Rochdale 1 Gillingham 1– match report

John Egan headed home to rescue a point for the Gills in their promotion clash with Rochdale.

Callum Camps put the home side ahead at the end of the opening half, but Egan levelled the scores with 13 minutes left.

The point at Spotland was enough for the Gills to hang onto sixth place on goal difference ahead of Barnsley, who won late on against Peterborough.

Cody McDonald is eager to get on with it while John Egan, background, celebrates his late leveller against Rochdale Picture: Barry Goodwin
Cody McDonald is eager to get on with it while John Egan, background, celebrates his late leveller against Rochdale Picture: Barry Goodwin

Justin Edinburgh made three changes to the team which started against Port Vale on the Saturday. The Gills were aiming to end a run of four games without a win, a run of results that has put a dent in their hopes of making this season’s play-offs.

There was a complete change up front, with Rory Donnelly and Cody McDonald dropping to the bench. Luke Norris was recalled after his weekend omission.

Jake Hessenthaler returned to the midfield in place of the absent Andrew Crofts.

Bradley Dack was playing in support of Norris, but it was the home side who had the better of a first half of few clear-cut chances.

It took 36 minutes for the first on-target effort, with Donal McDermott firing in from long range with a weak effort that keeper Stuart Nelson comfortably dealt with.

Moments later Nelson made a fantastic save low down to tip Joe Bunney’s effort wide after a deflection off Egan looked to be taking it into the far corner. Oliver Lancashire headed the resultant corner narrowly wide.

Gillingham’s best effort of the half fell to Norris, as Dack’s corner was played into him after going deep, but the striker couldn’t keep the ball under the bar.

Rochdale went ahead in first half stoppage-time. Possession was given away in midfield by Josh Wright and the home side broke down the right, with Camps eventually picking up the ball and curling past Nelson.

McDermott headed a chance wide early in the second half for Rochdale, while at the other end, Norris tried his luck from 20 yards, with a low shot that keeper Josh Lillis dealt with comfortably.

There were half-hearted claims for a Gills penalty on the hour as Jackson went down under pressure from Michael Rose but the referee was having none of it.

McDonald came off the bench to join Norris up front but Nelson was needed to make a couple of decent saves to keep it at 1-0, firstly denying Camps as he headed at goal and moments later parrying an effort from McDermott.

The Gills got back into the game on 77 minutes when Jermaine McGlashan floated a cross into the box and Egan powered a header across keeper Lillis.

Home sub Calvin Andrew headed wide late on but Egan had another chance for the Gills, with a looping header that Lillis did well to turn over the bar.

Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty, McNulty, Eastham, Lancashire, McDermott (Vincenti 67mins), Mendez-Laing (Andrew 80mins), Allen, Rose, Camps, Bunney (Holt 78mins). Subs not used: Collis, Cannon, Syers, Kennedy.

Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson (McGlashan 61mins), Garmston, Oshilaja, Egan, Ehmer, Hessenthaler (Osadebe 90mins), Wright, A Morris (McDonald 61mins), Dack, Norris. Subs not used: El-abd, G Morris, Donnelly, Dickenson.

Attendance: 2,385.

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