Gillingham boss Neil Harris hit outs at referee over Mansfield equaliser
Gillingham manager Neil Harris criticised referee Jacob Miles after Davis Keillor-Dunn’s controversial goal earned Mansfield a point from a 1-1 draw at Priestfield.
The Scottish striker cancelled out Macauley Bonne’s early opener for the Gills, but it came from a free-kick taken when it appeared that referee Miles was in the process of booking midfielder Ethan Coleman.
Gillingham would have returned to the top of League Two with a victory but slipped from second to fifth after drawing a game for the first time this season.
“I feel we’re right to be hard done by,” said Harris. “It’s frustrating as the game swung massively at that moment.
“If we focus on the moment, Ethan brings the lad down. It’s a foul and a yellow card. I’m not disputing the law there.
“Mansfield’s players are well within their rights to play on. But the referee makes it clear to everybody in the ground, because of his actions with his whistle and the card, that he’s going to book our player. Ultimately, his body language and demeanour have made our team stop.
“I’ve spoken to the referee, who was good enough to give me his time. He obviously stands by his decision but needs to see it back. I’ve been fortunate enough to see it back. If he pulled the game back the moment they passed the ball, this moment would not be mentioned one bit.”
Former Charlton and Ipswich striker Bonne scored his first goal for the Gills 95 seconds into the game after Connor Mahoney capitalised on a loose pass from Stags defender Lewis Brunt.
Keillor-Dunn’s equaliser, his eighth league goal of the season, tied the game nine minutes before the break. George Maris blazed over after meeting Ollie Clarke’s cutback and Shad Ogie blocked Lucas Akins’ driven effort as the Stags went closest to a second-half winner.
“We recovered extremely well after the first two minutes,” said Town manager Nigel Clough after watching his side extend their unbeaten league run to 11 games dating back to last season.
“I thought in the first half we had an element of control to our game. Then in the second half we had the control and the chances. I’m pleased with the number of chances we made in the second half.
“Gillingham made some brilliant blocks and defended well. I think if George’s chance goes in just after half-time, we go on to win the game,” he said.
Clough saw no issue with his side’s equaliser, adding: “We just took a quick free-kick. I don’t think there’s anything in the rules against taking a quick free-kick. We tell them in training to play quickly. The ball went straight past their centre-half, who stood there watching, and Davis has finished it well.”
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