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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: GILLINGHAM (H)

8 February 2020

ALBION had to settle for a point from a goalless draw with Gillingham after playing the final quarter of the game with ten men after Oliver Sarkic was sent off for two bookable offences

In a game where neither side really threatened to take all three points home it made Albion turn to their defensive resilience in ther latter stages to ensure that the former Leeds youngster's dismissal did not cost them dear.

John Brayford almost snatched a win at the death with a header from Ryan Edwards corner but it could easily have gone the other way had Thomas O'Connor's stoppage time shot not smashed against the face of the crossbar as the Gills looked to extend their ten game unbeaten run to eleven with a win.

Albion showed just one change to the side that lost to the odd goal in five at leaders Rotherham United last time out. Joe Powell, perhaps unfortunate to find himself on the bench after a goal scoring full debut in the previous game, was restored to the side with Conor Shaughnessy dropping into the back four to take the place of Jake Buxton who was struggling with a knock to the ribs.

Gillingham made a bright start and Matthew Willock had Kieran O'Hara scrambling to palm a deflected looping effort wide of the goal for the games first corner which Albion were able to clear to prevent an early goal which has been the case in some recent games.

Albion took a while to get going but they should have probably made the most of a delicious cross from John Brayford on seven minutes, both Lucas Akins and Powell sliding in but failing to get a touch.

The Gills continued to look the more likely despite the game being somewhat stop-start due to a number of free kicks given away by both sides disrupting the flow of the game. Jordan Roberts was allowed to jump for a header on 19 minutes as Ben Pringle swung in a corner but his effort cleared the crossbar quite comfortably.

And Roberts was allowed to race away on a counter attack two minutes later but with attacking support lacking he tried to go alone, another long range effort deflected wide of the target.

The Brewers began to string some nice passing together midway through the half and after working it from left to right Brayford was left as the man over on the right to power in a shot that was deflected away for a corner. Oliver Sarkic also saw a placed effort deflected over in what was becoming a bit of a theme for the afternoon.

Just after the half hour mark it was Albion with a chance from a set piece, Powell swinging a low ball in that Shaughnessy stooped to head at the back post but with the angle ever decreasing against him he was unable to get his header on target.

Gillingham probably wasted the best chance of a scrappy opening half when a corner bobbled around the Burton box and John Akinde got it all wrong as he tried to volley home skewing his effort back across the box and well wide.

Half time: Burton Albion 0-0 Gillingham

Albion made a much brisker start to the second period with Murphy and Powell both working good crossing chances early on but Jack Bonham remaining untroubled in the Gills goal.

But Gillingham soon settled and it took an outstanding save from O'Hara to deny Akinde from point blank range on 54 minutes.

Things started to turn against the Brewers when Sarkic was sent off on 67 minutes for a second bookable offence. The forward had already tangled with Connor Ogilvie in the first half to pick up a yellow card and he was guilty of a foul on the half way line on the same man as he tried to nick a ball to lead a counter attack, the Gillingham man getting there first and drawing the foul and second yellow card for the former Leeds youngster.

Gillingham looked to seize the initiative with the extra man and substitute Jordan Graham's searching cross had O'Hara at full stretch with Ollie Lee blasting the loose ball well over the bar.

Akinde played no further part in the final thirteen minutes or so as Steve Evans shuffled his pack to bring Brandan Hanlan into the game as a different attacking option.

Albion got to see new signing Kwame Thomas in the closing stages as the game went very stretched. Brayford tested Bonham with a back post header from a corner that the keeper was grateful to grab hold of before Gills went close to winning it in added-on time with Tom'O'Connor rattling the crossbar with a rising shot.


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