A (badly) missed opportunity

Monday 2nd January – Huddersfield Town 0-0 Gills

Bank Holiday Monday at Christmas? Then it must mean a trip to West Yorkshire. After the farcical Swansea postponement it meant the Gills had won just once on their travels in 2005 and only three times in two years. This was the 49th away game since beating Millwall back on December 28th 2004 and more pertinently since August 29th the Gills had picked up just one point out of a possible 21. This did not bode well, away to one of the title contenders albeit one that had hit a bit of a wobble.

Given our modest upturn in form we thought it wouldn’t be a walkover but were still pretty resigned to not winning because, well that is just something we can’t do on the road anymore. It has had a drastic affect on the numbers travelling to the far-flung fixtures and has often dampened the atmosphere and anticipation when we get there, but fair play to the 335 fans in the away end that kept up a virtually non-stop vocal support during an open and eventful game. The 11,000 home fans largely sat in the renamed Galphram Stadium in grumpy silence until a late case of the jitters got them moaning and groaning as the Gills threatened to pinch ALL the points.

Of course we didn’t pinch the points, but there was much to take from the game. It was heartening to see the players winning most of the 50/50 tackles, blocking shots, showing a bit of passion and commitment. It was also encouraging to see the Gills gain in confidence and hit their opponents on the break with increasing regularity even if the shooting was still pitiful.

Shields was the major culprit in the first half whilst at the other end Brown was once again outstanding, virtually faultless and so superior to Bullock it doesn’t bare thinking about. He is a class act, the only class act at the club at the moment, and he was the inspiration for the Gills finishing strongly in search of a break through in the last twenty minutes after an increasingly out of sorts Huddersfield had apparently ran out of steam. The big moment came with five minutes to go, a splendid counter attack culminated in the ball being crossed deliciously for Neil Harris unmarked at the far post. He was six yards out, it was a simple task, all he had to do was nod us into ecstasy but he lamely headed the ball wide. The just about sums it up really.

We were happy enough though with a point in a game we should have won at the death. In the last minute Town did have a great chance to do what most other teams do to us away from home but Booth blazed over… Still gold stars all round for the goalkeeper, defenders and midfield – if only the strikers could find their shooting boots we’d be laughing (well not crying). Happy New Year.

Champagne Moment: Finding out the game was ON. Some of the cheeky scamps on the coach thought it funny to tell those on the train that the game was in doubt (despite the stadium having undersoil heating). After the Swansea trip we were less than chuffed to hear the game was under threat, even making alternative plans as we waited for our connecting train at Wakefield… Oh how we laughed.

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