Result: Gillingham 1 Doncaster Rovers 1 - 40-yard Forrester stunner keeps Rovers in top six

Harry Forrester celebrates scoring Rovers' opener. Photo: Steve Uttley
Harry Forrester celebrates scoring Rovers' opener. Photo: Steve Uttley

Rovers claimed a welcome point at on form Gillingham to remain inside League One’s top six.

Harry Forrester scored a stunningly audacious free kick that was quickly cancelled out by John Marquis’ header for the hosts just before the break.

Both goals were massively aided by the wind and the awful conditions were the winner at the Priestfield Stadium.

Rovers struggled to get to grips with the gusts of wind and lacked their usual composure with the ball, particularly when it came to the final third.

But it can be argued that a point at an on form side and potential play-off rival is nothing to be sniffed at.

Rovers had a glorious chance to take the lead after just three minutes as they made a strong start.

Reece Wabara was released down the right and flashed a low ball across the face of goal with neither Nathan Tyson nor Dean Furman able to get a touch to turn it in.

The game was particularly open over the first 15 minutes with action at both ends.

It took a superbly timed covering tackle from Butler with Cody McDonald looking to strike a bouncing ball in the Rovers box.

Gillingham had the first effort on goal when McDonald met Jake Hessenthaler’s deep cross and headed on target but it was a simple stop for Stephen Bywater.

Butler was again the hero on 17 minutes. Bradley Dack lifted a looping ball towards goal, carried by the wind, and it took a header from under the crossbar from Butler to keep it out.

Butler really should have given Rovers the lead ten minutes from the break.

The centre half rose unmarked to meet a deep free kick but turned his header wide at the back post.

But Rovers were ahead moments later, and in fine style.

Lining up a free kick 40 yards out and with a strong wind at the Priestfield Stadium, Forrester went for goal and dipped the ball over Stuart Nelson and just under the bar.

Forrester had only been on the pitch for five minutes after replacing the injured James Coppinger.

But three minutes later Gillingham were level through Marquis.

This time it was Stephen Bywater caught out by the wind as Doug Loft’s free kick headed for goal and Marquis took advantage of the confusion to dart in and turn the ball home.

Gillingham missed a great chance to go ahead against Rovers early in the second half.

Marquis twisted and turned on the left and fired low on goal with Stephen Bywater getting just enough on it to send it wide of the far post.

Chances were few and far between for both sides in the second half.

But Forrester missed a gilt-edged opportunity 14 minutes from time.

He had clear sight of goal but rushed his effort from the edge of the box and saw his stabbed shot saved comfortably by Stuart Nelson.

Marquis could have won it for his side in stoppage time after wrong-footing Reece Wabara but his attempt to curl the ball into the top corner went high and wide.

Gillingham: Nelson, Hoyte, Egan, Ehmer, Martin, Pritchard (Morris 25), Hessenthaler, Dack (McGlashan 83), Loft, Marquis, McDonald (Norris 74).

Subs not used: Morris, Legge, Galbraith, Dickenson.

Rovers: Bywater, Wabara, Butler, McCullough, Stevens, Furman, Coppinger (Forrester 35), Wellens, Razak (Bennett 58), Main, Tyson (Robinson 76).

Subs not used: Marosi, McCombe, Middleton, Ikpeazu.

Referee: Keith Hill (Hertfordshire)

Att: 5,909 (370 away)