Burton Albion 1-1 Gillingham
Burton Albion 1-1 Gillingham

Gillingham’s away League One campaign petered out into ultimate disappointment as they were denied a record tenth away League win of the season by a 90th minute equaliser as for the third weekend running Steve Evans saw his side drop late points from a winning position.

Jordan Graham’s thirteenth goal of the season looked like it was going to seal the points for The Gills, but just as against Oxford United and Northampton Town on the two previous Saturdays they were unable to hold on as Burton Albion sub–Ryan Broom drilled beyond a despairing Jack Bonham as the ninety minutes expired to deny Evans’ side an historic afternoon.

The manager made two changes from the home draw with Northampton with Robbie McKenzie and Tom O’Connor replacing the injured Ryan Jackson and Robbie Cundy as the Gills headed to the Pirelli Stadium with lingering Play Off hopes just about still alive.

And the visitors almost made the dream start as home keeper Kieran O’Hara made a stunning save to deny Connor Ogilvie – who was making his fiftieth appearance of the season – the defender did well to meet Olly Lee’s free kick with such a fine header. Gills continued to create the better first half chances with Vadaine Oliver only just unable to convert O’Connor’s corner.

Burton were just getting into the game when Graham struck. Bonham’s huge goal kick was helped on by Oliver and Graham found himself through on goal and as O’Hara advanced, the Gills wide man coolly rounded him with ease and rolled the ball into the net for his thirteenth goal of the season.

The second period really showed that this was match forty-five in a forty-six-game season as neither side created many clear-cut chances. Kyle Dempsey had a shot that cannoned off Oliver whilst the Gills top scorer was inches away from converting Alex MacDonald’s centre whilst at the other end, Bonham magnificently denied Burton sub-Mike Fendop.

Just as it looked like the Gills would return to Kent with the points, the home side won a last gasp corner which the visitors failed to clear, and sub-Broom hammered the ball beyond a despairing Bonham and into the bottom corner.

If ever ninety minutes encapsulated a season, then this was surely it – so near yet so far for Evans and his players, who now just have ninety minutes of the strangest seasons of their careers left with victory over Plymouth Argyle next weekend could yet seal the Gills a place inside the top ten of the final League One table.

BURTON ALBION – O’Hara, Brayford, Edwards (Gallacher 11) (Rowe 69), Powell (Broom 84), Hemmings (Fondop 69), Akins, Earl, Carter, Clare, Hamer, Taylor.

Subs not used – Barnes, O’Toole, Gilligan.

Goal: Broom (90).

Booked: Taylor (13), Hemmings (45), Earl (85), Broom (91), Fondop (91).

GILLINGHAM – Bonham, McKenzie, Tucker, O’Connor, Ogilvie, Graham, Dempsey, O’Keefe, MacDonald, Lee (Samuel 74), Oliver (Akinde 80).

Subs not used – Bastien, Willock, Johnson, Woods, Lintott.

Goal: Graham (37).

Booked: MacDonald (39).

REFEREE – Mr Ben Toner

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