Faith Restored

Monday 9 April 2007 – Gills 1-0 Bristol City

Well, I didn’t expect that. Immense performances throughout the side clinched safety against near-certs for promotion in the most exciting game of the season and left us all begging the question : why can’t you bastards play like that every week? After the scandalously lucklustre afternoon at Millmoor, they proved they can do it in the most testing of circumstances.

In the cold light of day this performance means very little – we are still following a fragile and disorganised side lacking quality and leadership, and major rebuilding is required. But the result means everything as we can finally relax through the run-in, when having been in South Yorkshire two days earlier I really couldn’t see where another point was coming from this season prior to kick-off. And most of all, it showed that they do care and show no little talent in punching above their weight. I know expectations were massively inflated by the whole Championship experience but that kind of display is all we ask for, as was demonstrated by the rapturous response the knackered troops received from an enthralled crowd.

Bristol City looked strong, broke quickly and were prepared to batter us. I can’t say that they looked especially impressive (their subdued following indicated an understandable nervousness) but we didn’t let them settle. Spiller probably deserved his man-of-the-match award for his workrate and enthusiasm (let’s forget his finishing, but then he’s not a striker), often charging about on his own upfront, but for me Ian Cox was the real wonder. Within 20 minutes it was obvious that he was having a blinder but no-one dared say it for fear of prompting an almighty swipe into his own net. But he won absolutely everything, helped out in attack when appropriate (and – note to Sancho – got back to mop up any breakaways) and is entitled to say he has emphatically answered his particularly vociferous critics. Maybe on Saturday he’ll be back to his lumbering recent self, but for now I love him and that shiny head that he put in front of everything for 90 minutes plus. Add impressive cameos from Little Dean, Frannie Collin and numerous others and it made for a lot of sunshine smiles at the end.

We were down to our bare bones, which were a bit fractured to start with, and with further injuries to McDonald and Bastiens and several players dead on their feet having played out of position, it was a wonderful victory. We couldn’t really have complained if City had escaped with a point (especially after that impressively comical exchange when they twice hit our crossbar in five seconds) but the whole experience restored some of the faith that had been sorely eroded over recent weeks.

Champagne Moment :

I keep banging on about it but Dean McDonald is a natural finisher. We’re not using him anything like well enough and this makes him an unaffordable luxury, but his strike rate for the minutes he’s spent on the pitch and the number of chances that have come his way is better than anything we’ve seen from any of our other strikers in the last 3 years. I screamed at Bentley not to loft his cross in – what’s the point with a single 4ft striker in the box? – but Deano read it perfectly, lost his man and nodded home clinically.

The Morty Vicker

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5 Responses to Faith Restored

  1. Sy says:

    Completely agree about Coxy. He was absolutely immense!

  2. Derek says:

    For me Coxy was man of the match – probably his best performance ever – and in so doing demoralised City’s attack force. And what about his second half 70yard dash – the crowd immediately responded – they loved it.
    It was good that Ronnie had something to smile about too.

  3. Bring Back Les Berry says:

    Having read our esteemed Dick Head’s programme notes for the game on Monday, is anyone else slightly concerned that he is actually just a complete fruit cake, and not the nasty, scheming little git most of us had him down for?
    His programme notes are like reading weekly extracts from Mein Kampf – the guy surely needs to be sectioned without any delay. His attack on Steve Cottee from Bearsted was quite frankly astonishing. The only thing more astonishing is that his ramblings are put on the club website for the rest of the world to see.
    The man is a complete and utter embarassment to this club, Prince Philip would be better at PR. And as for saying every penny goes into improving the squad – does he really think we are that stupid?
    Anyway, great win on Monday – here’s to winning automatic promotion next season!

  4. Simon buttenshaw says:

    Bring Back Les berry? Isn’t Brent Sacho Les Berry re-incarnated? Bizzare how an athletic looking rastaman bears such a resemblance in playing style to said ex-charlton man…

  5. Simon buttenshaw says:

    …If we’re gonna bring back anyone next season, what about Andy Hessenthaler? Surely he’s got a good 4 or 5 seasons in him yet?… hard as nails, great organiser, scores goals..that’s the sort of player we need innit?

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