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Published: 16:40, 18 October 2014
Cody McDonald grabbed a late equaliser for the Gills at Rochdale on Saturday.
The hosts were made to pay for a string of missed chances.
Peter Vincenti headed Rochdale ahead for a deserved first half lead.
But the Gills levelled it up with seven minutes left through McDonald.
The draw ended a run of three successive defeats in the league for the Gills.
Peter Taylor made six changes to his Gills starting eleven, while there was also a welcome return on the bench, with Danny Kedwell back involved following a knee injury.
Rochdale had made a good start to life in League 1, following promotion the previous season and they were facing a Gills team who had lost their last three in the league.
Gillingham were second best in the opening half at Spotland but had half-hearted appeals for a penalty when Cody McDonald was shoved in the area by Jack O’Connell. Referee Eddie Illderton waved play on.
It took 45 minutes before the Gills threatened the home goal again and had their first shot. Amine Linganzi blasted an effort that was deflected just wide.
Prior to that Rochdale had been on top and held a deserved lead. Peter Vincenti headed them infront, with time and space to nod home from close range, after Rhys Bennett swung in a cross.
Taylor had started the game with a 4-5-1/4-3-3 formation but with the hosts bossing the game he switched his team around, reverting to 4-4-2, with Brennan Dickenson joining McDonald up top.
Linganzi’s effort was close but McDonald went even closer from the resulting corner. John Egan nodded it down to McDonald but keeper Conrad Logan was quickest to react.
Luke Norris joined the action for the second half at the expense of Dack, who had struggled to make an impact, as Rochdale dominated down the left with Vincenti and Scott Tanser.
Five minutes into the second half and the Gills also had to replace Kortney Hause. He limped off and was replaced by Gavin Hoyte.
The home side had a couple of golden opportunities to extend their lead at the start of the second half.
Ian Henderson headed one cross wide, as he connected to Matt Done’s cross unchallenged, moments before Vincenti shot into Bywater’s arms from almost on the line. Michael Rose’s cross had that time bypassed Gills’ defence.
A rare chance for the Gills saw Josh Pritchard try his luck from distance but the rising effort flew over. McDonald went close inside the box, with a shot on the turn, but a covering defender blocked the effort.
With seven minutes left Rochdale failed to clear efforts from Jermaine McGlashan and Norris and McDonald pounced on the loose ball, turning it home past keeper Conrad Logan.
Gillingham: Bywater, Fish, Egan, Hause (Hoyte 51mins), Legge, Hessenthaler, Linganzi (McGlashan 73mins), Pritchard, Dack (Norris 46mins), Dickenson, McDonald. Subs not used: Nelson, Kedwell, German, Hare.
Rochdale: Logan, Bennett, Eastham, Vincenti, Tanser, Allen, Rose, O’Connell, Henderson, Dawson (Lund 86mins), Done (Andrew 78mins). Subs not used: Rafferty, Lancashire, Hery, Muldoon, Musangu.