Academy U18 side in 2-2 draw with Gillingham
March 21, 2019
The young Gas side twice took the lead through Zain Walker and then Harry Warwick, only to be twice pegged back by their opponents, both from corner balls.
The game began with a good intensity as Rovers started on the front foot, as Lucas Tomlinson saw a free kick headed away and Walker rattled the side netting with a powerful strike.
Gillingham grew into the game past the 10-minute mark, as their No.9 rolled Luc Noble out wide and forced a stretched save from Thomas Barker to cut out a useful low cross.
Warwick should have perhaps opened the scoring when he raced through on goal, but his low finish was denied point blank before ricocheting off him and just over the bar.
The striker did then have the ball in the back of the net moments later as he lifted the ball cutely over the keeper, but was judged to be offside as he latched onto Tomlinson’s deft through ball.
Walker then broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark, cutting inside off the left flank and finishing powerfully beyond the keeper on his right.
The lead did not last however, as Rovers switched off at a corner and allowed Gillingham to bundle home a scrappy equaliser.
Joe Budd very nearly restored his side’s lead, letting an excellent volley go from 25 yards that demanded a superb save to tip it onto the post and behind.
At the break, Tom Parrinello made a switch, as he brought on Tom Mehew for Kinsly Murray.
10 minutes after the interval and Rovers were back in front, as Warwick got his goal after rounding the Gillingham keeper and finishing calmly into the empty net.
Gills’ keeper had another heart in mouth moment on the hour, as his attempt to clear a loose ball almost led to Walker adding his second, but a defender recovered well.
Tomlinson went into the book as he chased the ball down all the way to the keeper and was deemed to have left a leg in as the visiting stopper cleared.
Credit the visitors they kept going despite going behind twice and were rewarded on 73 minutes as they again capitalised from a corner, with their big centre-half rising high to head home from 10 yards.
Rovers almost replied immediately, with Mehew driving in a low free-kick at goal which required a decent save and Jamie Bremner followed in to tap home but the linesman had raised his flag for offside.
The prompt response from the hosts continued as Warwick almost scored an identical goal to his first, rounding the keeper although the angle this time just a bit too tight as the ball flashed across the face of goal.
Mehew scored an outstanding free-kick last week whilst on loan at … and tried to replicate that just inside the final 10 minutes, but his effort sailed wide of the target.
Gillingham almost found a late winner in what would have been bizarre circumstances, as Luca Hoole tried to clear coming off the right-back position and very nearly found his own bottom corner, but was a relieved man as he saw the ball rebound off the post.
They almost did once again moments later, this time through their own means as the defender who had scored their second, got up really well again from a free kick but was denied by an excellent outstretched save by Barker, who tipped it over the bar – Rovers were having to hang on a bit in the closing minutes and as such, brought on left-back Levi Paul in place of midfielder Mason Raymond.
Rovers XI: Thomas Barker (GK), Luca Hoole, Jamie Bremner, Luc Noble, Sam Heal, Mason Raymond (Levi Paul, 88′), Joe Budd, Lucas Tomlinson, Kinsly Murray (Tom Mehew 45′), Zain Walker, Harry Warwick.
Unused Subs: Jed Ward (GK).