‘Bucket-and-spades’ football produces predictable goaless draw

Injury to referee Messias forced a half-time reshuffle among the officials. Given the paucity of goalmouth action its tempting to suggest his failure to re-appear was a protest gesture.

High on endeavour low on quality.

The Gills forced the pace in the early exchanges. Nosworthy headed straight at Montgomery before Shaw rolled another header wide after a Southall centre.

Then Spiller pinged a speculative 35 yard effort which hit the underside of the bar and came back out to save Montgomery’s blushes.

McAllister led the home side’s response cracking a right foot strike wide from the edge of the box after a slip pass from Jansen.

On 15 minutes a penetrative run from the Blackburn loanee created a chance for Pipe whose shot was deflected for a corner.

Then he got in on the act himself but spooned a left foot curler over.

Whing finished the half with a left foot volley that swerved wide after cutting in from his wing-back station.

City went for the throat straight after the restart.

The full debutant Osbourne grazed the upright.

On 53 minutes Konic up for a corner headed wide from 6 yards and a minute later Pipe was denied by Brown for another corner.

It was an action replay of the previous set piece. Konic’s powerful header met by a diving save by the fully employed Brown.

With City failing to make the breakthrough the game slumped back into the end-of-season vibe that had infected much of the first period.

For the remainder it was Gillingham who carved out the best openings.

On 68 minutes Spiller wasted a great chance skewing his shot into the crowd when found inside the box with time and space.

McAllister made a triple substitution breaking a club record for the number of players used in a season – 44.

It made little difference to the eventual outcome.

With 8 minutes remaining Engonga reacted sharply to head off the line to stop Johnson’s goalbound header.

Then Gordon spirited the ball away from two Gillingham attackers favourite to connect with Shaw’s dangerous centre.

No goals and precious little for the home fans to get out of their seats for. Everything that’s gone wrong with the second-half of the season in 90 minutes of (in)action.