Monday 26th December – Gills 1-1 Bristol City
After six consecutive victories over the Ashton Gate wretches, normal service was resumed with the familiar stalemate scoreline from the 80s. A result we should be grateful for, as it was a lucklustre performance in front of the traditional somnambulant early kick-off crowd. I was dreaming of the spark of Boxing Days past : the 5-1 dismantling of Southend in ’84; the rabid come-back against Derby in ’85,the hurtful late missed penalties against Fulham, Maidstone and Luton; the crucial points stolen from us with a last-ditch penalty at Scunthorpe in ’92; the 4-1 mangling of Fulham in ’94 when Jim Stannard had a mare; the drama of the late spotkick win over Plymouth in the promotion year which followed the best save I’ve ever seen from a full-back; Asaba nonchalantly grabbing a hat-trick against Palace in our first year in Division 1; Kevin James’ last minute winner at the Play Pen….of course there’s been some dross as well, including two tepid previous 1-1 draws at home to Bristol City in ’85 and ’87.
I was woken from my stupor by City taking an early lead. At least I was woken, which is more than can be said of our defence. The equaliser came from a 35 yard Flynn free-kick which blitzed through the least effective wall in history to leave the keeper unsighted. And that was it. Either side could have won it, neither did. Against a lowly but in-form side it was important that we didn’t lose.
Champagne Moment: The spectacular celebrations that greeted Shearer’s late winner against Derby. In 1984.