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Sheffield Wednesday 1 Gillingham 1: Vadaine Oliver scores opener before going off injured at Hillsborough; Florian Kamberi equalises

Gillingham battled for a point at Sheffield Wednesday but picked up a couple more injuries in the process.

Leading scorer Vadaine Oliver put the Gills infront midway through the opening half of the League 1 clash before both he and captain Kyle Dempsey went off injured. Florian Kamberi got a 76th minute equaliser for Wednesday and it finished 1-1.

Vadaine Oliver put Gillingham ahead at Hillsborough Picture: Andy Jones
Vadaine Oliver put Gillingham ahead at Hillsborough Picture: Andy Jones

Gillingham couldn’t fill the bench because of injury issues but there was an unexpected return for Watford loan midfielder Dan Phillips who was named from the start.

Teenage left-back Bailey Akehurst was making his Football League debut for the Gills, starting the match in what was the club’s first visit to Hillsborough since 2002.

Akehurst won an early header to calm the nerves and put in a good challenge to rob forward Florian Kamberi of the ball. He was given a busy afternoon by the lively Theo Corbeanu.

Wednesday had plenty of possession and although their forward players had all the tricks they struggled for an end product in the opening half.

The Gills had soaked up the pressure before they struck. It was an Akehurst free-kick that created the opening, his ball in cushioned well by John Akinde and with one touch he controlled and fed Oliver, who then showed a cool head to bend a ball past keeper Joe Wildsmith for a 22nd minute lead.

Oliver had earlier come close at the back post and later in the half Stuart O’Keefe shot narrowly wide.

Wednesday kept pressing but the home fans were left frustrated, with jeers towards their own team as the half-time whistle sounded. Gillingham had done their best to slow the game down when given the opportunity.

Kamberi put a header over the bar early in the second half for Wednesday and Cumming held onto a shot from Corbeanu after he cut inside to creat an opening.

Gillingham’s goalscorer Oliver limped off with just under an hour gone meaning another teenager, Gerald Sithole, on to replace him.

The gulf in the status of the two teams showed when moments after Gills’ youngster Sithole was introduced the home side brought Saido Barahino off the bench, an experienced striker who his former club Stoke City once paid £12m for.

Callum Paterson blasted a great chance wide for the hosts and more chances came and went for Wednesday as the Gills put their bodies on the line.

Gillingham’s injury problems continued with the loss of their skipper Kyle Dempsey with 15 minutes left and shortly after he left the field Wednesday got their equaliser.

Cumming’s saves had been routine up until the point Barry Bannan pulled the trigger and when the keeper couldn’t hold onto the thunderous strike, Kamberi was on hand to slot the loose ball home with 76 minutes played.

Jack Tucker had to clear the ball off the line moments later after a deep ball in from Marvin Johnson. Corbeanu also went close with a hooked effort on 90 minutes that dropped just wide of the post.

Gillingham: Cumming, Jackson, Akehurst (Adshead 71mins), Tucker, Ehmer, Phillips, O'Keefe, Dempsey (Reeves 74mins), Lloyd, Akinde, Oliver (Sithole 57mins). Subs not used: Chapman, Lintott.

Sheff Wed: Wildsmith, Palmer, Shodipo (Sow 82mins), Bannan, Dele-Bashiru (Adeniran 90mins), Johnson, Kamberi, Dunkley, Corbeanu, Wing (Berahino 61mins). Subs not used: Render, Brown, Luongo, Brennan.

Referee: John Busby

Attendance: 10,593

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