Athletic stunned by late Gills leveller
Date published: 15 April 2018
Athletic manager Richie Wellens reacts on the touchline against Gillingham. Picture by Juel Miah
Athletic were stunned as Gillingham scored a controversial injury-time penalty to snatch a 1-1 draw at Boundary Park.
Duckens Nazon fired Athletic on course for a crucial win in their continuing battle to avoid the drop from Sky Bet League One, but there was late drama as they had Wilfried Moimbe sent off before Tom Eaves levelled from the spot.
Visiting goalkeeper Tomas Holy made two fine stops in the first half, rushing off his line to deny Nazon and somehow blocking George Edmundson's header.
At the other end, Steve Lovell's Gills went close to a breakthrough when former Athletic loan striker Conor Wilkinson forced Johny Placide to beat away his angled shot.
Richie Wellens' men took the lead moments before half-time as Jack Byrne found Nazon, who battled his way into the penalty area and drove inside the far post from 12 yards.
Wilkinson was inches away from a Gills equaliser before, on the hour, Placide was heroic as he grabbed Jake Hessenthaler's goalbound header.
Athletic wasted chances to double the lead and they were punished in the 90th minute when referee Michael Salisbury pointed to the spot after an off-the-ball incident involving Moimbe.
The defender received a straight red card and Eaves drilled home the resulting penalty.
Athletic are now just a point clear of Rochdale in the final relegation spot, ahead of the two local rivals going head-to-head in a crunch derby clash at the Crown Oil Arena on Tuesday night.