Gillingham moved off the bottom of the League One table on Tuesday night with a 0-0 draw against Shrewsbury Town at Priestfield, but remain nine points adrift of safety and are now without a win in 16 games in all competitions.
Story of the match
Kyle Dempsey earned Gillingham a corner early on, but the captain’s resulting effort failed to make its way through several bodies in the box.
Jack Tucker and Robbie McKenzie fired headers at the goalkeeper and wide respectively as the Gills continued to enjoy their fast start, and Shrewsbury had to wait until the 23rd minute for their first attack of any significance, but a goalmouth scramble was stopped by referee Brett Huxtable’s whistle after a foul on Pontus Dahlberg.
Elliott Bennett tested Dahlberg for the first time with a free kick on the edge of the D – Max Ehmer had fouled Daniel Udoh – but the Swedish international was equal to the effort.
The game struggled for fluency in the build-up to half time, with both teams making seemingly simple errors. It’s unlikely either manager would have been happy heading into the break, with Steve Lovell and Steve Cottrell left with plenty to ponder.
The second half began as the first ended, with both sides struggling to get a grip on the game and making several unforced errors. Gillingham should have gone ahead on 55 minutes however, when Dempsey worked some space on the right. His pull back found John Akinde in miles of space on the edge of the box, but the forward fired way over.
Dan Phillips worked a chance for himself on his left foot but fired wide as Charlie Kelman tried to gee up the crowd, and the QPR loanee soon fired straight at Marko Marosi.
Kelman fired over as the game petered out, and the result leaves Gillingham nine points from safety and 23rd in League One. Shrewsbury, meanwhile, leapfrog Cheltenham Town into 17th, but are a long way from safety yet.
Takeaways from the match
Gills struggle to put it all together
Gillingham were the better team in this game but couldn’t put the finishing touches together to score a goal – a problem that has proved regular for them this season.
A clean sheet is a big positive for the home side, but the absence of talisman Vadaine Oliver proved vital and the forward was evidently a big miss on the day.
Back from suspension, the Watford loanee shone for Gillingham in his preferred central midfield role.
With the Gills trying to play more on the deck under Steve Lovell, Phillips had the freedom to pick passes and take a few risks on the ball and he did just that, creating as much as he could. Unfortunately, his teammates didn’t take advantage of any of the chances he created.
Gillingham: Dahlberg, Jackson, Ehmer, Tucker, McKenzie, Lee, O’Keefe, Phillips (Lloyd 81), Dempsey, Kelman, Akinde (Dickson-Peters 57).
Subs not used: Chapman, Bennett, Tutonda, Lintott, Sithole.
Shrewsbury: Marosi, Bennett, Pennington, Ebanks-Landell, Nurse (Fornah 76), Ogbeta (Pierre 60), Leahy, Vela, Davis, Udoh, Bowman (Janneh 75).
Subs not used: Burgoyne, Bloxham, Pyke, Daniels.