Published: 16:45, 28 August 2021
| Updated: 22:59, 28 August 2021
Gillingham were unable to hold onto a first half advantage as Shrewsbury fought back to take the points on Saturday - a match that ended in confrontation.
Jack Tucker headed Gillingham infront but a spectacular effort from Shrewsbury’s Tom Bloxham made it all-square after 58 minutes and the home side took the lead through Sam Cosgrove. The match ended in chaos when Dan Phillips was sent off for Gills along with David Davis for the Shrews, both for second cautions, while Gills assistant Paul Raynor was also red-carded as a skirmish took place in the technical area.
Gillingham had striker Vadaine Oliver in the starting eleven despite his midweek knock.
Boss Steve Evans was also able to recall the impressive Dan Phillips to the midfield as they attempted a first away win of the season.
Gillingham lined up with wing-backs against a Shrewsbury side without a win or a goal from their opening four League 1 fixtures. The hosts were able to put that right with two second half goals.
The Gills took a 13th minute lead from a corner, delivered by the lively Kyle Dempsey and headed home from Tucker.
Oliver went close soon after, heading over a good chance from another Dempsey cross.
Shrewsbury had a few half chances, with Tucker getting a couple of good blocks in, but the home side were almost handed an equaliser.
Daniel Adshead attempted to play a pass back to the keeper, it lacked pace, but Jamie Cumming managed to challenge Sam Cosgrove. The threat wasn’t quite over, with Cosgrove picking up a ball back in the box and looking to find Daniel Udoh but Adshead was there to make amends and clear the ball.
Luke Leahy put a free-kick wide for Shrewsbury but the Gills took their advantage into the break. Gillingham’s injury woes continued, however, with Ryan Jackson pulling a muscle when attempting a shot. He was replaced before the break.
Shrewsbury ended the first half well and put the Gills under pressure at the start of the second as well. Adshead was replaced by Ben Reeves in midfield 10 minutes after the restart.
Oliver - a pre-match injury doubt - often looked to be troubled by his ankle but attempted to carry on as best he could. With next weekend’s game against Charlton off he would have time to recover.
Shrewsbury got back on level terms just before the hour mark and their first of the season was a bit special, an overhead kick from just inside the area from Bloxham flying into the roof of the net.
The home side introduced fresh legs, looking for a second. It soon arrived as a as Daniel Udoh’s low cross was met by Cosgrove and he swept the ball low past keeper Cumming.
Rhys Bennett departed with 20 minutes left as the Gills reverted to 4-4-2. Danny Lloyd was the man to partner Oliver for the latter stages.
Gillingham had a little spell of pressure but were unable to make it count and the match ended in ugly scenes as both sets of management and players scuffled, resulting in Raynor being sent off after the final whistle. Phillips and Davis had also been booked - both picking up their second cautions - following a skirmish.
Home sub keeper Harry Burgoyne was also sent off amid the chaos.
Shrewsbury: Marosi, Bennett, Ebanks-Landell, Pierre, Nurse (Ogbeta 65mins), Leahy, Davis, Vela, Bloxham (Bowman 65mins), Udoh, Cosgrove (Pyke 83mins). Subs not used: Burgoyne, Daniels, Whalley, Leshabela.
Gillingham: Cumming, Jackson (Tutonda 45mins), Ehmer, Tucker, Bennett (Lloyd 71mins), McKenzie, Adshead (Reeves 54mins), Phillips, Dempsey, Oliver, Carayol. Subs not used: Chapman, Akehurst, O'Keefe, Lee.
Referee: Sam Allison