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Walsall 3 Gillingham 2 –match report

Gillingham were knocked off top spot in League 1 by Walsall.

The Gills made a super start, with goals from Cody McDonald and Bradley Dack, but the work was undone by two Walsall goals in two minutes.

Gillingham, who had scored late goals in their previous three games, conceded a stoppage-time winner scored by Jason Demetriou.

John Egan denies Walsall's Rico Henry at the Bescot Stadium, but Gills couldn't hold on to their two-goal advantage Picture: Barry Goodwin
John Egan denies Walsall's Rico Henry at the Bescot Stadium, but Gills couldn't hold on to their two-goal advantage Picture: Barry Goodwin

Justin Edinburgh’s side slipped to third with the defeat and Walsall went top.

Doug Loft and McDonald returned to Gills’ starting line-up for the clash and the pair combined for the opening goal after 12 minutes.

A perfectly-weighted ball from Loft picked out the run of McDonald and he side-footed home past keeper Neil Etheridge.

It got even better for the Gills with 32 minutes gone when Dack doubled the lead from the penalty spot for his eighth goal of the season.

Dack had been fouled in the box by defender Paul Downing, after the Gills midfielder latched on to a long clearance from keeper Stuart Nelson.

The goals failed to knock the spirit out of the hosts and Milan Lalkovic fired in a warning shot that curled just wide of the post.

A goal from nothing brought Walsall right back into the game. Kieron Morris tried his luck from distance and the low shot crept in past Nelson.

A minute later and the game was all-square as a cross from the right found Lalkovic and he fended off the attentions of Ryan Jackson to net from close range.

Walsall finished the half well, with George Evans putting a couple of chances narrowly wide.

Tom Bradshaw, Walsall’s leading scorer, had a sight at goal early in the half but was denied by a great Harry Lennon sliding block. The chance came from a giveaway by Jermaine McGlashan, who was soon withdrawn having already been booked and on a last warning by the referee.

It took another sliding challenge, this time from John Egan, to deny the ever-dangerous Bradshaw after he ran on to Romaine Sawyer’s ball forward.

The Gills were unable to test the home keeper in the second half, with McDonald firing over and Rory Donnelly glancing a corner wide.

Walsall won it at the death as the ball found its way to Demetrious, lurking at the far post, and he powered home a volley in the first minute of added-on time.

Reece Flanagan almost made it 4-2 but was denied by a fine Nelson save.

Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson (Williamson 90mins), Egan, Loft, A Morris, Donnelly, Dack, Lennon, Dickenson (Hessenthaler 69mins), McGlashan (Garmston 55mins), McDonald. Subs not used: Ehmer, Houghton, G Morris, Osadebe.

Walsall: Etheridge, Demetriou, O’Connor, Downing, Chambers, Bradshaw, Sawyers, Henry (Taylor 90mins), Lalkovic (Cook 77mins), Morris, Evans (Flanagan 87mins). Subs not used: Baxendale, Forde, MacGillivray, Preston.

Attendance: 6,663 (689 away).

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