Saturday 3 March – Gills 2-2 Blackpool
I entered the stadium in the state of discontentment that I’ve carried around for much of the season, along with, it seems, an ever growing proportion of the Gillingham support. But no! I had obviously misjudged the mood entirely, because I picked up the programme and was immediately corrected by Chairman Scally’s notes – `As a club, we have overcome our problems and now have an excellent base and structure to build a team that can again push for Championship football and beyond. There is a positive vibe within the club and everyone remains very focused on what we want to achieve for this football club` – Well phew for that, because for a moment there I thought we were 10 million quid in debt, had a paper thin squad, the worst away record in the division, and a completely disillusioned support. Glad you put me right there Mr Chairman.
Obviously, the positive vibe that Scally sensed had permeated into the Rainham End, and the game took place amid the best Priestfield atmosphere for many a long week. Dean McDonald’s early goal was quickly snuffed out after some monumental Sancho dithering at the back handed the visitors the equaliser on a plate. I don’t really want to dwell on yet another defensive calamity by the Gills backline but…. For fucks sake Sancho why didn’t you just launch the ball into the back garden of one of the houses in Gordon Road instead of trying to control the bloody thing in front of an otherwise open goal?!!. No no no no no!
We regained the lead when Andrew Crofts rose unchallenged to head powerfully home from a corner, in what is becoming his trademark goal, and had the ideal opportunity to make the game safe when Danny Spiller’s run was brought to a early conclusion when he was upended right on the edge of the penalty area early in the second half. Sadly, Mike Flynn completely Lovelled his penalty, allowing the Blackpool keeper the opportunity to save. The thought`we’ll pay for that later` meandered around the stadium, but remained unsaid.
The moment of repayment duly arrived when Mark Bentley was harshly adjudged to have fouled on the edge of the box, and the free kick was dispatched around the wall, over the French bloke and into the far corner. Still we could have snatched victory, with two strong penalty appeals turned down. The first saw Danny Jackman booked for diving, which looked a tad harsh, but the second – well, it was a penalty. But obviously bottle job referees are too scared to give a second penalty.
So another point towards the 52 point survival target, but it was a result that leaves next week’s visit of Crewe looking, if not a must win game, certainly a `well actually it would might make life a tad easier if we win` game
Champagne moment Dead heat between the return of the pikey geezer at the front of the Rainham End, who was removed by the Head Steward for the heinous crime of enjoying himself and trying to encourage vocal support but then allowed back, presumably after a `we don’t expect that kind of behaviour here` lecture. And little bloke McDonald’s attempt at an aerial challenge, which failed on the dual counts of him jumping about five minutes too early, and only reaching a height of approximately two feet under the ball