ON-THE-WHISTLE-REPORT: Gillingham 1, Peterborough United 1: Posh denied a deserved victory at the death

Danny Lloyd shoots Posh ahead at Gillingham. Photo; Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Danny Lloyd shoots Posh ahead at Gillingham. Photo; Joe Dent/theposh.com.
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Peterborough United were denied the victory they deserved at Gillingham by a 93rd-minute equaliser.

Danny Lloyd’s 12th goal of the season looked to have sealed a valuable three points for Posh, but a late bombardment by the home side led to an injury time equaliser for Gills centre-back Max Ehmer.

Posh striker Jack Marriott tries to get round Gillingham goalkeeper Tomas Holy. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh striker Jack Marriott tries to get round Gillingham goalkeeper Tomas Holy. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Steven Taylor miscued his clearance from a long hopeful punt forward enabling Ehmer to drive a shot through Posh ‘keeper Jonathan Bond.

It was harsh on Posh who were largely in control for three quarters of a game played in very difficult conditions of a strong, blustery wind, heavy rain and a bumpy pitch.

Posh sprang a suprise by making four changes to their starting line-up and by reverting to a 3-4-1-2 formation. It clearly took Gillingham by surprise as they struggled to monitor the movement of the Posh ball players in the early stages.

There was no Marcus Maddison because of a knee injury, but Lloyd was very lively playing just behind a front two of Omar Bogle and Jack Marriott, while Joe Ward proved to be an adventurous pick at left wing-back.

Posh goalkeeper Jonathan Bond makes a remarkable save to thwart Gillingham striker Josh Parker. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh goalkeeper Jonathan Bond makes a remarkable save to thwart Gillingham striker Josh Parker. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Marriott forced a save out of home ‘keeper Tomas Holy after just 17 seconds, and the giant number one also did well to handle recalled midfielder Michael Doughty’s drive from 20 yards.

Marriott then worked a decent opening for right wingback Liam Shephard, but he blazed over from 20 yards.

Posh’s domination did force Gillingham to change shape from their preferred midfield diamond to 4-4-2 and it did help them gain some possession, but despite a couple of strong bursts down the right from Elliott List, they created nothing in the first 45 minutes.

Indeed the best chance of the half arrived late when Marriott pounced on a defensive error and shot first time when clear in the penalty area, but Holy saved well with his legs.

Posh continued to dominate in the early stages of the second-half with their former defender Gaby Zakuani heading Marriott’s fine strike behind for a corner and Bogle toe poking wide after engineering a good opening for himself.

And a superb break involving Grant, Marriott and Shephard finished with the Posh top scorer missing the target from a difficult angle.

It took Gillingham 15 minutes to muster a response, but Josh Parker headed over the bar from a decent left wing cross.

But it was Posh who deservedly took the lead on 67 minutes when Liam Shephard’s right wing cross was volleyed home by the impressive Lloyd from eight yards.

Gillingham almost responded immediately with Parker heading straight at Posh ‘keeper Jonathan Bond from a free kick. Parker thought he had bundled the rebound over the line - the Gills’ goal music was even played - but the officials were unmoved.

Gillingham cranked up the pressure in the final 20 minutes by throwing a lot of men forward, but Posh looked to have weathered the storm until Holy launched one last ball forward..

A minute before the equaliser Marriott should have squared the ball to two unmarked teammates after a rapid break.

A better decision then and Posh would have been celebrating victory.

Posh: Jonathan Bond, Jack Baldwin, Steven Taylor, Ryan Tafazolli; Liam Shephard, Michael Doughty, Anthony Grant, Joe Ward (sub Andrew Hughes, 80 mins): Danny Lloyd (sub Chris Forrester, 89 mins): Jack Marriott, Omar Bogle (sub Junior Morias, 66 mins).

Unused substitutes: Conor O’Malley, George Cooper, Leo Da Silva Lopes, Idris Kanu.

Gillingham: Tomas Holy, Luke O’Neill, Bradley Garmston (sub Connor Ogilvie, 74 mins), Max Ehmer, Gaby Zakuani, Jake Hessenthaler, Elliot List (sub Scott Wagstaff, 67 mins), Callum Reilly (sub Conor Wilkinson, 74 mins), Mark Byrne, Josh Parker, Tom Eaves.

Unused substitutes: Tom Hadler, Ben Nugent, Liam Nash, Franck Moussa.

Goals: Posh - Lloyd (67 mins).

Gillingham - Ehmer (90 + 3 mins).

Cautions: Posh - Grant (foul).

Gillingham - Byrne (foul), Reilly (foul), Garmston (deliberate handball), Wilkinson (dissent)

Referee: Andy Davies 7.

Attendance: 7,154 (476 Posh)