Goalkeeper Tomas Holy was the star as Gillingham’s League One campaign kicked off on a positive note with a hard-earned 0-0 draw at newly-promoted Doncaster Rovers.
Adrian Pennock‘s side survived a late penalty appeal and spent a fair portion of the game on the defensive as Doncaster had the lion’s share of the chances. But ultimately the Gills defensive determination helped them came away from the Keepmoat Stadium with their first league point of the season.
Gillingham lined up with a few surprises in their starting XI. There was no place for last season’s Player of the Year and top scorer Josh Wright, with Mark Byrne and Billy Bingham paired in holding midfield roles behind captain Lee Martin.
A strong contingent of 562 Gills fans made the trip up from Kent for the season opener, and were rewarded by a determined display, with goalkeeper Holy playing a starring role.
— Luke Cawdell (@KentOnlineGills) August 5, 2017
The Czech stopper turned in a superb display to keep out a host of Rovers chances as the home side hit the target seven times from 16 shots at goal.
Byrne was forced to clear off the line inside the opening two minutes as Doncaster threatened to take the lead in the game’s early exchanges.
But it wasn’t all one-way traffic, as the Gills also had chances to come away from Doncaster with all three points. Defenders Ogilvie and Gabriel Zakuani both forced Rovers goalkeeper Ian Lawlor into smart saves, while Scott Wagstaff also had a couple of half chances.
— Gillingham FC (@TheGillsFC) August 5, 2017
Doncaster piled on the pressure in the closing stages, but the Gills defence stood firm to secure the first away point of the season.
The Gills now face another road trip, as they take on Reading in the League Cup on Tuesday night, before kicking off their home campaign at Priestfield Stadium next Saturday against Bradford City.
Gillingham team vs Doncaster
Holy, O’Neill, Ehmer, Zakuani, Wagstaff (Nash 90), Ogilvie, Byrne, Bingham (Wright 73), Martin (c), Eaves (Wilkinson 66), Parker.
Unused subs: Hadler, O’Mara, Hessenthaler, Cundle.