Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Match Reports

Report: Gillingham 1-1 Stags

30 September 2023

Davis Keillor-Dunn scored his eighth goal of the season as Stags extended their unbeaten start to the campaign with a 1-1 draw at promotion rivals Gillingham.

Hot-shot Keillor-Dunn cancelled out Gillingham’s early goal and despite the game opening up in an entertaining - if at times feisty - second-half, the points were shared.

Mansfield are now 13 games unbeaten in all competitions.

Five changes were made to the line-up from Tuesday’s thrilling Carabao Cup win over Peterborough United.

Jordan Bowery, Calum Macdonald, Ollie Clarke, Davis Keillor-Dunn and Lucas Akins replaced George Williams, Baily Cargill, Hiram Boateng, James Gale and Will Swan.

Stags got off to the worst possible start and conceded inside the opening two minutes after defender Lewis Brunt gave away possession midway inside his own half.

Connor Mahoney pounced on the error to make a simple intervention and roamed forward before squaring for Macauley Bonne to slot home from ten yards.

On six minutes, Stags’ left-back Calum Macdonald received the game’s first yellow card for a foul on Connor Mahoney on halfway.

On 13 minutes, Scott Malone tried his luck from distance but goalkeeper Christy Pym was well behind it.

Two minutes later, commanding defender Aden Flint stood firm to deny Shaun Williams’ rasping effort from 18 yards, which would have otherwise surely tested Pym.

Gillingham turned up the heat and this time Pym was needed to beat away Bonne’s right-footed strike after a cross from the flank.

Stags endeavoured to get the ball down and play and Macdonald saw two successive efforts blocked by a defender on the left of the box after latching onto George Maris’ searching pass.

Mansfield were growing into the game and Akins’ flashed a header narrowly beyond the far post from Maris’ well-taken corner.

On the half-hour mark, an unmarked Conor Masterson blazed over from ten yards following a free-kick for the Gills on the inside right channel.

Stags then drew level thanks to clever quick-thinking from midfielder Ollie Clarke on 37 minutes.

Brunt showed fine control in defence to loft a lovely ball forward to Maris, who then found Clarke. And seconds after the midfielder was tripped midway inside the visiting half, the ex Bristol Rovers man took a quick free-kick which caught the Gills’ defence off guard, enabling Keillor-Dunn to race forward and place his finish low beyond goalkeeper Jake Turner.

The Gills were incandescent with the referee’s decision to allow the goal to stand and in quick succession, Malone and Coleman were shown yellow cards.

Seconds before the referee blew for half-time, midfielder Lewis Reed struck wide from the edge of the box.

At the break, defender Baily Cargill replaced Calum Macdonald in a like-for-like change.

On 50 minutes, Stags almost took the lead when Clarke nipped to the byline before pulling it back for Maris, but the midfielder was on the stretch as he fired over from 12 yards.

Stags increased the tempo and Akins and Maris both saw shots blocked on 54 minutes.

At the other end, Malone skipped beyond two players before lashing a cross into the goal area, which Pym had to gather.

On 57, Pym could only parry Mahoney’s venomous drive, but Flint came to the rescue to deny Bonne a clean shot from the rebound.

The game started to open up and Stags went on the charge before the hour. Keillor-Dunn forced Turner into a smart stop with a shot inside the box and soon after, Clarke’s goalbound effort was blocked inside a packed penalty area.

On 61, Akins’ hurled a quick throw to the advancing Keillor-Dunn, who galloped forward before rifling towards the near post, which forced Turner into a decent save.

Ex-Stags’ midfielder George Lapslie was then brought on as part of two home changes.

Mansfield missed a golden opportunity to take the lead on 66 minutes.

The Gills were playing a high line and Stags looked to expose it to deadly effect.

Maris roamed through the middle and found the onrushing Keillor-Dunn, who advanced one-on-one with Turner, with the latter flying to the ground to nick the ball before Keillor-Dunn could round him.

Mansfield were in the ascendency and saw another good chance go begging on 73 minutes when Lewis curled an effort just wide from 20 yards.

Maris then saw his strike clip off a Gills’ defender, when he may have squared for Lewis, as Stags sought the advantage in the last 15 minutes.

On 80 minutes, Clarke made way for forward Will Swan, a clear sign of Nigel Clough’s intentions to win the contest.

Keillor-Dunn entered the referee’s book for a foul on substitute Ashley Nadesan on the Gills’ right flank.

In an end-to-end finale, Nadesan smashed over from close range in a glaring miss following a corner on 86 minutes.

In the last minute of stoppage time, James Gale replaced Keillor-Dunn.

Stags had a corner in the dying seconds, but Gillingham managed to clear and the points were shared.

GILLS: Turner, Alexander, Masterson, S. Williams, J. Williams (Clarke 63), Jefferies (Lapslie 63), Malone, Coleman, Ogie, Mahoney (Nadesan 82), Bonne

UNUSED SUBS: Morris, Ehmer, Nichols, McKenzie

STAGS: Pym, Bowery, Flint, Brunt, Macdonald (Cargill H/T), Reed, Lewis, Clarke (Swan 80), Maris, Keillor-Dunn (Gale 90+4), Akins

UNUSED SUBS: Flinders, Johnson, Williams, Boateng

REFEREE: Jacob Miles

ATTENDANCE: 6.486 (545 Stags’ fans)

Advertisement block

iFollow Next Match Tickets Account