Saturday 25th March – Gills 1-0 Swansea City
How on earth we churned out six points from two home games after the shambles of seven days earlier I’ll never know, but the squeaky tightness at the foot of the table means it was a bloody good job we did. Where has it all gone right? I guess it’s fairly obvious : the return of Byfield, Jarvis and Sancho. The absence of Johnson and Hope. And somewhere behind the scenes, Jepson has rallied a harrowed squad, got them scrapping, got them moving the ball quickly on the deck to feet, got them lumping the ball in the direction they are facing when necessary, got them lumping the opposition if required.
Swansea were rather less formidable than I’d expected and we dominated the first half with nothing to show for it but at least we didn’t look like conceding a goal every ten minutes as had been the previous Saturday. The division’s man of the moment, Lee Trundle, was snuffed out by an uncompromising Sancho display, his only real efforts on goal being a 50 yard volley that dipped into the Town End and a one-on-one easily smothered by Brown.
The second period brought a similarly disciplined performance, and all that separated the two sides was a single penalty, beautifully drawn by Jarvis and lovingly dispatched by Byfield, via the crossbar. And it got better. Trundle got upset and was booked and substituted. Then the two charmers Leon Knight and Tom Williams were introduced to a crescendo of boos, “Wankers” and suggestions that they like a dive. Within ten minutes both had been yellow carded as well and we held out to secure an unlikely double. Gutless incompetents became worthy winners, and everyone at the club deserves enormous credit for such a response.
Champagne Moment: The crunching tackle on Matt Jarvis that ended a jinking run that incorporated both subtlety and power. A proper emphatic upending, and the resulting penalty was crashed home with glee by our top scorer.