Saturday 28th January – Gills 1-1 Rotherham
Our excellent home run of six wins and a draw from the last seven games had been precisely mirrored by our dreadful away run of six defeats and a draw from the last seven away games. As each home fixture hoved into view the feeling that `we can’t keep relying on winning all our home games` was strengthened. This was the day that the prophecy came to pass, although fortunately the damage was limited to two points dropped, rather than all three.
It was one of those messy encounters that you really don’t want to be watching for much of the ninety minutes and it has to be said that it was the visitors whom played the more coherent football, prompted the mercurial Baldy Shaw (who I personally would welcome back any day). It was Shaw’s astute pass that allowed Williamson to put the Millers in front, and at that stage it was difficult to see a way back.
The Gills main attacking threat came from debutant Tommy Black, signed on loan from Palace (for whom he once won a hugely debatable spot kick at Priestfield with an outrageous dive outside the area – but hey, let’s not hold that against him… not while he’s playing for us anyway). It was Black’s corner just past the hour which evaded everyone and was turned in by the livewire Gavin Grant for his first goal in a Gills shirt, and he wheeled away delighted whilst the recriminations began in the Rotherham defence – with a severe outbreak of finger pointing exchanged between goalkeeper and central defender.
Most would have settled for a point at that stage, and even more so following a massive stroke of good fortune with 7 minutes left. Shaun Barker’s effort struck the inside of the post and was scrambled away – apparently from well behind the line according to those sat nearest the incident in the Medway Stand. Fortunately our ever reliable friends the officials failed to spot it and we clung on to a fortuitous point.
Champagne Moment: Given the variety of dubious refereeing decisions, unfortunate circumstances and downright cheating we have fallen victim to in the last couple of years it was nice to have a large slice of luck go our way for once.