Report: Doncaster Rovers 2 Gillingham 2

Doncaster Rovers fought back from two goals down to rescue a point against high-flying Gillingham.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 16th January 2016, 4:10 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th January 2016, 4:14 pm
Conor Grant holds off his man.
Conor Grant holds off his man.

Rory Donnelly struck early in both halves to put the Gills in command.

But Rovers, despite not playing well, stuck to the task in hand and claimed a point with late goals from Cameron Stewart and Andy Williams.

There was some doubt about the game going ahead after a power cut in the area over lunchtime forced the Keepmoat Stadium’s back-up generator into action.

A strange and subdued pre-match build-up then saw Nathan Tyson sustain an injury in the warm-up, meaning his place was taken by Curtis Main. Skipper James Coppinger also returned at the expense of Harry Middleton.

The contest started at a quick tempo and Rovers failed to make the most of a glorious chance after just three minutes when Williams burst free down the left but over-hit his cross to an unmarked Coppinger.

They paid the price for not making more of that opportunity when Gillingham went ahead on 10 minutes, Donnelly volleying home in composed fashion at the back stick after a deep cross from right back Ryan Jackson.

Rovers, restricted to efforts from range and struggling to hold onto possession, survived a real scare on the half hour when dangerman Bradley Dack headed Bradley Garmston’s cross onto the underside of the bar and the ball came down on the goal-line before bouncing to safety.

The Gills seemed happy to play on the break, while Rovers enjoyed the majority of the ball and territory but failed to test Stuart Nelson in the visitors’ goal.

Rovers needed a big improvement but upon the re-start they were immediately penned back by Gillingham and quickly found themselves two down. Dack played a neat ball through to Donnelly who kept his cool and clipped it past Stuckmann.

Darren Ferguson responded by introducing Stewart and Liam Mandeville, taking off Andy Butler and Main.

It was the away side, however, that continued to carve out the clearer chances. Dack forced a save from Stuckmann with a powerful hit from the edge of the box before Donnelly headed an opportunity straight at the German.

Rovers were handed a lifeline on 75 minutes when, following a foul on Williams on the edge of the area, Stewart stepped up and nonchalantly curled home the resultant freekick.

The on-loan Ipswich winger’s day turned sour in the closing stages, however, when he had to be stretchered off after landing awkwardly on his neck.

From the resultant free kick Aaron Taylor-Sinclair headed a clear chance wide, but not long after Rovers were level. Williams, with the clock on 88 minutes, latched onto a through ball and finished expertly left-footed.

In a rousing finish, which saw nine minutes of injury time added, Taylor-Sinclair saw his close range effort deflected over, Cedric Evina hit a piledriver just over before Williams almost won it deep into stoppage time but blazed his shot over from inside the area.

Rovers: Stuckmann, Alcock, McCullough, Butler (Stewart 49 (Lund 86), Taylor-Sinclair, Evina, Keegan, Grant, Coppinger, Main (Mandeville 49), Williams. Subs not used: Marosi, MacKenzie, Middleton, Chaplow.

Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson, Egan, Ehmer, Garmston, Morris, Wright (McGlashan 72), Hessenthaler (Loft 90), Dack, Donnelly, Samuel. Subs not used: Morris, Osadebe, Norris, Dickenson, List.