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Match Reports

Match Report: Gillingham 1-1 Southend United

24 October 2015

McLaughlin's first of the season isn't enough as Blues are pegged back through late equaliser.

A late equaliser from Doug Loft resulted in a point apiece as Southend United picked up a point against Gillingham at Priestfield Stadium in a 1-1 draw.

Stephen McLaughlin scored his first of the season in his maiden start of the campaign early in the half but the Gills battled back to take a share of the spoils.

Boss Phil Brown made two changes to the starting XI for the game against the Gills.

Gary Deegan came into the side in place of Michael Timlin, who picked up an injury in training earlier this week.

Also coming in was McLaughlin, who replaced ex-Gills man Myles Weston on the left wing.

It was a bright start from both sides as Dan Bentley had to be alert to catch a dipping volley from Jermaine McGlashan, before moments later, Anthony Wordsworth saw his snapshot saved at the second attempt by Stuart Nelson.

After 11 minutes Blues took the lead through McLaughlin – on his first start of the season.

The winger latched onto an intelligent headed pass by Pigott to delightfully dink the ball over the onrushing Stuart Nelson and into the back of the Gills net.

It was what the Blues deserved following an encouraging start in Kent.

The frontline of Pigott and David Mooney was really troubling the Gills defence, which included former Blue John Egan.

Wordsworth volleyed just wide with his right foot, before Brennan Dickenson smashed over the upright. 

Back at the other end and after Leonard fed Pigott with a neat pass, the former Gills striker fired at goal and forced Nelson to block with his legs.

So Blues went in at the break with the advantage, and a deserved one at that, following a really positive display in the opening 45 minutes.

The start to the second half wasn't as exciting as the majority of the first 45, with the closest both sides coming to scoring when Bentley had to tip away a cross-shot from the lively Dickenson.

Just before the hour mark though, Gills boss Justin Edinbrugh threw on Cody McDonald, boosting his attacking options on the pitch.

Soon after, Rory Donnelly saw his bicycle kick fall into the gloves of Bentley.

Deegan was walking a tightrope and was lucky to get away without a second booking when he brought down Bradley Dack. Brown realised this and brought on Will Atkinson in place of the Irishman just a moment later in the 65th minute.

A minute later and Cian Bolger had a great chance to double the lead for the visitors but could only head Ben Coker's free kick from the left into the gloves of Nelson.

With 15 minutes remaining, Brown made his second change of the game, with Glen Rea coming on for Mooney.

And five minutes later, Weston came on against his old club in place of goalscorer McLaughlin.

Time was running out for the Gills, who were throwing everything at the Blues in the final stages.

With five minutes left, Bentley produced a stunning low stop to deny Harry Lennon from equalising late on for Edinburgh's men.

But a late equaliser did come for the hosts, through substitute Doug Loft, with just one minute of normal time remaining.

A hopeful hit from Loft was caught in the wind and sailed past Bentley and into the top corner of the net.

And that was to be that, with no more chances of note in the five minutes of additional time.

Blues: Bentley; White (c), Bolger, Prosser, Coker; Leonard, Deegan (Atkinson, 65), Wordsworth, McLaughlin (Weston, 80); Pigott, Mooney (Rea, 78).

Unused substitutes: T. Smith, Worrall, Payne, O'Neill.

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