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Report: Town forced to settle for a point against Gillingham

14 December 2019

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Fleetwood Town were held to a 1-1 draw against Gillingham on Saturday afternoon as both sides battled it out in blistery conditions on the Fylde Coast.

Paddy Madden netted from a Josh Morris’ cross to break the deadlock just before the hour mark, with former Town loanee, Alex Jakubiak netting to set up a nervy ending to the match.

Despite chances for both teams towards the end, neither side could take them and the points were shared.

The visitors had the games first real chance as Barry Fuller found space to strike from distance, but his shot went just over Billy Crellin’s crossbar.

This was followed by two corners for Gillingham in quick succession. Joey Barton’s side were under pressure, but Peter Clarke and Harry Souttar were there to clear the danger on both occasions.

The hosts had to wait until midway through the first half for their first real chance. Morris whipped in a wicked ball from the right, which fizzed across the Gillingham goalmouth, with no Town player gambling to get on the end of the cross.

Minutes later, there was another opportunity for Fleetwood! After a nice one-two between Jack Sowerby and Burns, it was the Welshman who ran to the by line to put his cross into the box. But just like earlier, there was frustration as there no one gambled inside the danger zone.

Madden – who scored his 16th of the season - latched onto a long ball over the top, and with a quick glance towards goal, he picked out Burns who made a fantastic run, but he couldn’t direct his header on target!

The last action of the half involved Gillingham. Steve Evans’ side pushed forward but Town’s back line stood firm to make sure they went into the break on level terms.

The second half began with Town on the front foot. Burns broke away from Brandon Hanlan on the right hand side, and was eventually brought down after making ground. The Gillingham player was booked for his cynical tackle. 

Five minutes later Burns was involved again. This time the winger set up Danny Andrew on the far side, who struck the ball first time to see it narrowly go over Jack Bonham’s bar.

With the wind not being a factor as much in the second half, the pace of the game increased which suited Town.

The first goal of the match came just before the hour mark through Madden. Kyle Dempsey did well to pick out Morris on the left before he found the Irishman inside the six yard box - who prodded the ball home from close range! Just what they deserved! 

After the goal, the home side continued to dominate, however the conditions picked up again causing both Fleetwood and Gillingham difficulties with their defending and attacking.

Souttar almost doubled the Cod Army’s lead. The Australian international looked to head home from a corner, but the keeper, along with his defenders did enough to prevent the ball from finding the back of the net.

Gillingham went close with under twenty minutes left on the clock. After a lovely move down the left, Lewie Coyle managed to get a decisive block in on the edge of the box, which he eventually cleared away! 

Shorly after, the visitors moved forwarded down the left with intent. Lewie Coyle was there once again to put in a vital block to prevent Crellin being called into action. 

The match began to open up with both teams having chances at either end, and with Gillingham making a change, they were looking for the equaliser, and that’s what they got through their substitute.

Jakubiak levelled proceedings eight minutes form time with a lovely curling effort. Not too much the England Under 20 goalkeeper could do about it. 

Town responded well to the goal and probably should have been ahead moment later. Conor Ogilvie slipped on the edge of his back and when the ball was played into the 18-yard-box, all Morris had to do was hit the target.

The forward missed his opportunity, but give credit to the Gillingham defender who did enough to put off the former Scunthorpe man.

The last action of the game saw Brandon Hanlan go close to giving Evans’ side all three points. Hanlan's strike looked to be hitting the target, but it bounced off Ben Pringle's back out for a goal-kick.

With both teams heading into a busy festive period, Barton will now look to prepare his side for the trip to Rotherham United next Saturday. 

Town XI: Crellin (GK), Coyle, Andrew, Clarke, Souttar, Burns, Dempsey, Evans (C) (Saunders 88’), Morris, Madden, Sowerby.

Subs not used: Cairns (GK), Eastham, McAleny, Coutts, Biggins, Garner.

Gillingham XI: Bonham (GK), O’Keefe, Ehmer (C), Ogilvie, Hanlan, Mandron, Fuller (Marshall 68’), Jones (Jakubiak 68’), Lee, O’Connor(Pringle 83’), Tucker.

Subs not used: Walsh (GK), Hodson, Ndjoli, Charles-Cook.

Attendance: 2468 (117)

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