Hull City 1-1 Gillingham
Hull City 1-1 Gillingham

Super sub Olly Lee secured Gillingham what many believed would be an unlikely point against League One Leaders Hull City as the points were shared on the Gills first visit to the KCOM Stadium.

Yet it could have been an even sweeter trip back to Priestfield for Steve Evans and his side as with literally the final throw of second half stoppage time, Dominic Samuel was denied a fairy tale return from injury.

The striker had only been on the pitch for five minutes when he diverted Vadaine Oliver’s flick from Ryan Jacksons long throw onto a post and as the ball rebounded to safety, Referee Coy blew the final whistle.

Former Rainham End favourite Tom Eaves had powered the Tigers in front early on, but Lee’s introduction for John Akinde on the hour was to prove the turning point and when he magnificently volleyed home Jack Tuckers fine knock down from Tom O’Connor’s corner, the Gills more than matched the League leaders to extend the run to just that controversial defeat at Fleetwood Town in the clubs last nine games.

The Gills boss was forced into an unwanted change as Robbie Cundy wasn’t fit enough so he was replaced O’Connor whilst the home side included both Eaves and Alfie Jones in their stating line up.

Even before Eaves had given the home side ahead, Gills could have been in front. Oliver was the unlucky man as he diverted Kyle Dempsey’s drive (as the ball fell to the skipper on the edge of the box from a corner) beyond a stranded Matt Ingram and onto the foot of the post.

Eaves then reminded Gills fans what they had been missed by brilliantly getting on the blind side of Tucker to power home a header past Jack Bonham and given that it was the big strikers first goal in twelve games, his lack of celebration shows just how much of his footballing heart is still in Kent!

The big striker was proving a real handful for the Gills defence – couldn’t help but thinking what a battle Eaves v Cundy would have been – and Eaves was only denied a second by the frame of the goal on 18 minutes.

George Honeyman’s powerful run wasn’t stopped and his ball across the box was met by Eaves but this time, his flick clipped the outside of the post and went wide.

Stuart O’Keefe had an effort blocked before Greg Docherty fired well over Bonham’s goal when well placed and the leaders were ahead at the break which gave the Gills plenty to play for after the break although they really should have been further behind just before the hour.

Central defender Jacob Greaves got on the end of Keane Lewis-Potters knock on, but he couldn’t keep his header down and from near point-blank range, thumped the ball against the frame of the goal.

That let off seemed to spur the Gills on as they levelled on sixty-eight minutes. Lee had only been on the pitch for six minutes when he gleefully volleyed home Tucker’s expert knock down from O’Connor’s deep corner.

The home side then showed just why they have topped the League One table for so long as they took the game to their visitors – Eaves and Lewis-Potter (both from Honeyman centres) both went close with headers before Oliver drilled a chance just wide from Jackson’s cross.

In the final minute of normal time, Bonham denied Jones’ header and as the two collided, the former Gills loanee was flattened and had to be helped off the pitch.

Ironically in the time added on, the visitors almost snatched an amazing win. With the last action of the game, Jackson’s long through was helped on by Oliver and Samuel’s knee diverted the ball onto the post and back into Ingram’s grateful arms.

Eight games left and Evans and his charges are still just two points off the Play Off places and have the chance to actually go into Easter in the Play Off places with a Wednesday night win over relegation threatened Wigan Athletic under the Priestfield floodlights.

HULL CITY – Ingram, Coyle, Jones, Greaves, Elder, Slattery, Docherty, Wilks, Honeyman, Lewis-Potter, Eaves (Scott)

Subs – Long, Emmanuel, McLoughlin, Crowley, Jones, Salam

GILLINGHAM: Bonham, Jackson, Tucker, Ogilvie, O’Connor, O’Keefe, Dempsey, Graham (Samuel), MacDonald (McKenzie), Akinde (Lee), Oliver

Subs – Bastien, Woods, Johnson, Willock