Doncaster Rovers 0-0 Gillingham
Doncaster Rovers 0-0 Gillingham

Gillingham got their League One campaign off to a decent start with a goalless draw at Doncaster Rovers.

Ady Pennock’s new look side grabbed a point on the road with the Gills looking like they will be made of more steel and determination this campaign.

Tomas Holy was given the keeper’s jersey and showed why as time and time again he kept the visitors in the game.

Liam Mandeville and debutant Ben Whiteman went closest for Rovers on an afternoon when they did everything but score.

Darren Ferguson’s side bossed the game virtually from start to finish but were unable to make it count on the scoresheet.

Gillingham offered little threat but Rovers were indebted to goalkeeper Ian Lawlor for one exceptional first half save from Gabriel Zakuani.

Rovers could have gone in front in just the second minute when Whiteman played in Mandeville but the forward’s goalbound shot was hooked clear by Luke O’Neill.

They then should have taken the lead on 27 minutes but, after slicing open the Gills defence, Matty Blair saw his shot saved by Holy.

The Gills were on the back foot but came close to scoring against the run of play just after the half hour. Lawlor first stopped a volley from Connor Ogilvie and from the resultant corner he made a sensational reflex save to keep out a header from Zakuani.

The second half started in the same pattern with the home side enjoying more possession and territory. Andy Butler saw a header from Danny Andrew’s corner blocked by Holy before Mandeville expertly collected a long clearance from Lawlor but volleyed just over.

New loan signing Rodney Kongolo came on for an impressive cameo on 70 minutes and shortly after John Marquis curled an effort just wide from distance.

Rovers took it up another notch and Marquis should have done better from close range after Andrew’s free-kick fell kindly for him in the box.

Whiteman then rattled the bar with an extraordinary effort from all of 40 yards. Referee Darren England waved away two late claims for a penalty when Kongolo and then Rowe were sent tumbling in the box.

Rovers’ disappointing afternoon in front of goal was rather summed up when Marquis tamely chipped into the hands of Holy following a quick counter.

And there was still time for Whiteman to unleash another thunderbolt from distance but this time it was deflected over the bar.


Doncaster Rovers line up: Lawlor, Mason, Wright, Butler, Andrew, Whiteman, Blair (Kongolo 70), Rowe, Coppinger, Mandeville (May 89), Marquis.

Subs not used: Marosi, Alcock, Garratt, Beestin, Longbottom.

Gillingham line up: Holy, O’Neill, Ehmer, Zakuani, Wagstaff (Nash 90), Bingham (Wright 73), Martin, Byrne, Ogilvie, Eaves (Wilkinson 66), Parker.

Subs not used: Hessenthaler, Cundle, O’Mara, Hadler.

Referee: Mr Darren England.

Attendance: 7,512 (568 Gills)