Fleetwood Town battled throughout their clash against Gillingham at Priestfield Stadium on Easter Monday, with neither side able to come out on top as it ended goalless.
In a game that meant more than three points, it was a testing fixture as both sides were limited to few chances on goal. The Cods’ best chance to break the deadlock was Paddy Lane’s volley from 20 yards, which had to be saved by Gills goalkeeper, Aaron Chapman.
It was a cagey opening 10 minutes in the game as both sides were looking to feel each other out before committing themselves forwards for attacks.
Town created the only effort of note in this period, and it was from Ellis Harrison as he attempted to find the near bottom corner with a first-time volley from the edge of the box, but his effort went the wrong side of the post.
On the 15-minute mark, Fleetwood thought they had found a gap in the Gillingham backline as Harvey Macadam strode forwards from the right-back spot to whip in a brilliant cross which, unfortunately, was just out of reach for both Harrison and Josh Harrop in the centre.
The first half was a game of few chances, and the Cods couldn’t have come much closer than when Cian Hayes drove Robbie McKenzie back to his byline before firing a low cross towards Harrison three yards out, with the forward unable to reach it even at full stretch.
It took a while, but Gillingham’s first chance was a gilt-edged one as Charlie Kelman latched onto a Ryan Jackson cross from the right and headed the ball towards Alex Cairns’ goal from six yards, with Town’s number one more than a match for the effort.
Soon after, Cairns came out of his goal to close down Kelman, who tried to get past the goalkeeper and was unsuccessful. Another chance followed though as Vadaine Oliver rose highest inside the box to nod the ball on target, Cairns was able to stop it.
The Cods rounded out the half with two decent chances on goal, starting with Callum Camps trying his luck from range, but his effort was deflected wide for a corner. Then, Batty played a free-kick into a packed area, finding the head of Harrison, who nodded straight at Chapman.
Four minutes after the restart, Town created another chance as Camps dinked the ball over a trailing defender’s leg to set Lane up for a 20-yard volley, which he took on and forced the Gillingham goalkeeper into a save.
It took almost 10 minutes for the next chance to come, and it was for the hosts, as the ball was crossed into the box from the left, towards Oliver, who tried a flamboyant overhead kick which was collected by Cairns at his near post.
Half-chances followed for each side as Harrop, who was played in by Hayes in the middle, had his shot blocked from 20-yards before the home side went down the other end and saw the same happen to substitute Ben Reeves, this time from 25-yards.
The referee was front and centre with 15 minutes to go as he sent both Lane and Kelman off after both went into a 50/50 full-blooded, with the Fleetwood man coming off much worse. Both sets of medical staff, as well as a stretcher, was called on as it took seven minutes for them to complete the treatment.
The final effort of the game fell to Fleetwood as Camps was brought to the ground, only for Hayes to pick up the ball 20 yards out, but his effort was straight at Chapman, meaning the score would stay 0-0 come the final whistle.
Town XI: Cairns (GK), Jules, Harrop (Pilkington 74’), Harrison, Camps (C), Batty (Boyle 90+4'), C.Johnson, Lane, Nsiala, Hayes (J.Garner 90+11'), Macadam.
Unused subs: O'Hara (GK), Butterworth, Baggley, Bird.
Gills XI: Chapman (GK), Jackson, O’Keefe (C) (Reeves 46’), Ehmer, Tucker, Thompson, Lee, McKenzie (Tutonda 70’), Masterson (Phillips 90+3'), Oliver, Kelman.
Unused subs: Dahlberg (GK), Dickson-Peters, Maghoma, Chambers.
Attendance: 8,436 (90 away)