Tuesday 12th Sept – Gills 2-1 Millwall
After all those years of the miserable Bermondsey sods turning up, gurning and bawling and disappearing back to their charming villages with all the points, we are now unbeaten in seven home games against Millwall. And I think we just about deserved it, as – just like in the League Cup game – the visitors lacked class and looked well short on ideas.
On the break they throttled us down the flanks a few times, but in the final third there was no finesse to exploit our lack of pace, and Byfield was in a grump and was comfortably shackled by our centre backs. Easton meanwhile had his best game since he joined, and after his woeful finishing against Scunthorpe it was rather uplifting to see him drill one in from miles out. Byfield got tremendous stick from the crowd, not something I generally join in with though I know I’m in the minority when it comes to our moody ex-striker (Tom Williams on Saturday will be a different matter, I’ll be happy to abuse him till his ears fall off). Byfield’s also not the sort of player to channel his frustrations to his advantage – give Dickov stick and he’ll score a hurtful goal against you, whereas Darren just got into a childish spat with our new keeper (who I actually thought was a little fortunate to avoid a red card, especially given the gormlessly erratic performance from the short-arse official).
Up front Guy was quiet but Jarvis made the most of the space he was afforded, especially after Millwall went to four at the back with the withdrawal of Whitbread, which was where the game was won. Moments later he rattled through the heart of the visitors’ defence, played a fabulous one-or two with Bentley when off balance and finished confidently for the second.
That should have been it but of course we had to go and let in a late soft goal when controlling the game, making for a somewhat tense closing few moments, not least three minutes into injury time when Byfield went down injured in our area and Flinders threw the ball out near the corner flag so he could receive treatment. Jepson said afterwards that he didn’t want to make anything of Millwall’s determination to pile everyone forward rather than give the ball back – technically they were entitled to do that as the referee is now the one with the responsibility to make such decisions by stopping play when appropriate and managing the restart fairly, but this was utterly against the spirit of the game and Jepson blundered into Spackman’s technical area to make this point rather vociferously at the time. The referee gave a farcical foul throw against the neanderthal twats to diffuse the situation, his first common sense decision of the evening.
The incident, right between the away fans and the Medway Stand, inflamed an already tetchy conclusion as abuse frothed from the knuckle-dragging section against all and sundry, though most was directed at their bedraggled boss. Long may he survive, Millwall are going down on this performance. Outside the ground it was all too predictably time for road closures, police blockades,sirens and smashed train windows. Meanwhile Scally was no doubt happy that the flack was heaped elsewhere. In that respect, two wins don’t change anything and he knows he needs to do more than talk big talk in programme notes to avoid further grief. He might have mistaken hundreds of people singing anti-Scally songs two weeks ago for the sound of a few computer geeks tapping away in cyberspace, but unless he’s very stupid he knows he’s got to stop blaming everyone else and deliver on his promises.
Champagne Moment: Referee Ray Olivier, who reduced me to a near voice-less ranting wreck on a few occasions, gave the sweetest foul throw decision in the history of the sport. Cheats never prosper…
The Morty Vicker