Flash report: Gillingham 0 Doncaster Rovers 0

Rovers stretched their unbeaten run to four matches with a hard fought goalless draw with Gillingham.

Saturday, 7th April 2018, 3:45 pm
Updated Saturday, 7th April 2018, 5:01 pm
Gillingham v Doncaster Rovers

There was little between two sides whose League One status has surely already been secured as they battled out in strong winds as the Priestfield Stadium.

Both teams had plenty of energy but lacked a real touch of quality, particularly in the final third.

Rovers started very well but their control and composure evaded them as they game wore on, making for a rather frantic affair.

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Darren Ferguson made one change to the side that won at Blackpool on Good Friday.

With Jordan Houghton missing out entirely, in came Ben Whiteman while Andy Butler returned on the bench following the injury which kept him out for almost three months.

Rovers started brightly, with plenty of energy both on and off the ball.

They pressed hard from the start, penning Gillingham into their own half and snuffing out possession for the hosts.

And they launched forward quickly, playing plenty of first time passes that kept the pressure on.

The desire to press almost brought calamity for Gillingham keeper Tomas Holy, who cracked a clearance off Alfie Beestin. The ball looped out wide with Holy in pursuit but John Marquis nicked it away from him and went for goal from the byline, only to fire high into the stand.

The hosts struggled for opportunities until they were gifted one by Whiteman 20 minutes in. His backpass was cut out by Conor Wilkinson who charged forward and drilled a shot from the edge of the box which Joe Wright blocked bravely.

Tommy Rowe was close to giving Rovers the lead midway through the half after charging into the box and holding off his man before drilling narrowly over the bar.

Rovers lost composure as the half wore on and began rushing their play, resulting in plenty of mis-placed passes in midfield.

It helped to give the hosts a foothold in the game for the first time and they began to push forward.

Marquis produced a vital blocking header to prevent Ben Nugent from nodding Gillingham in front.

At the other end, Niall Mason had a tame effort saved easily by Holy after being played into space by Marquis.

Gillingham switched systems from a 3-4-1-2 to a 4-3-1-2 which helped them increase their presence in the contest and quell Rovers' pressure.

Joe Wright got Marosi out of jail with an absolutely vital header as half time approached. Marosi raced out of his box to close to the corner flag in order to shepherd the ball out of play with Wilkinson chasing. But Wilkinson nicked it away from him and crossed, with Wright heading away from the open goal.

Rovers threatened with a quick counter on the stroke of half time. Alfie Beestin carried the ball from half way with a dummy run from Marquis opening up the space. However Beestin's attempt to curl into the top corner from the edge of the box was high and wide.

Gillingham made a double switch at the break, sending on former Rovers loanee Franck Moussa while towering forward Tom Eaves was also introduced.

With Eaves up front alongside Wilkinson, the hosts had a big front line and began to pepper the Rovers box with crosses.

But clear cut chances for both sides were decidedly lacking.

Rowe went closest to putting Rovers ahead when he drilled narrowly wide after an excellent counterattack.

Rovers continued to lack composure and their rather frantic play was a gift for the hosts as they looked to getting balls forward quickly.

But Gillingham increasingly struggled to break into the final third with the game petering out.

Rovers had a glorious chance to snatch a winner in injury time.

Substitute Rodney Kongolo drilled a low cross which ran past Marquis and to Alfie May. The striker's first touch was far too heavy which allowed Gillingham to clear and ensure the spoils were shared.

Gillingham: Holy; Ehmer, Zakuani, Nugent; Wagstaff, Hessenthaler, Byrne, Garmston; Nasseri (Moussa 46); Murphy (Eaves 46), Wilkinson (List 73). Subs not used: Hadler, Lacey, Ogilvie, Reilly.

Rovers: Marosi; Blair (Kongolo 80), Wright, Baudry, Mason; McCullough (Butler 82); Whiteman, Rowe; Coppinger; Beestin (May 72), Marquis. Subs not used: Lawlor, Boyle, Ben Khemis, Williams.

Referee: John Brooks (Leicestershire)

Attendance: 4,870 (344 away)