Tuesday 14 August – Watford Reserves 3 – 0 Gills CC1
Okay, so the League Cup is hardly our top priority this season, but after the Cheltenham debacle all Gills fans wanted to see an improvement in performance even if expecting a positive result was perhaps unrealistic.
Watford made ten changes from their starting eleven at Wolves on Saturday so we were faced with opponents devoid of the likes of King and Henderson but still ended up on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline
However for the 600 or so Gills that did brave the wind and torrential rain at least their were a few crumbs of comfort to be gleaned, albeit minor ones amid the rubble of the start of our season. So the good news? Well King looks to be a class act; he never gave up all night, even after he was clattered. Graham showed promise too and for much of the first half we gave as good as we got
Now the bad news… skip to the “Champagne Moment” if you don’t want to hear the rather sorry tale of an evening that promised much on ten minutes when King was bundled over in the box after a Southall corner. Referee Friend duly pointed to the spot only to see Mulligan well and truly fluff the chance. He “Lovelled” the spot kick, nervously sending an apologetic strike at the perfect height, speed and direction for keeper Lee to easily parry to safety with his legs. This metaphorically took the wind out of our sails even if the elements began to turn nastier by the minute
Watford showed us how is should be done ten minutes later with their first genuine attacking move of any merit, Rinaldi’s dipping diagonal cross guided deftly home by the diving figure of Priskin. The Gills really should have equalised seconds later but amid a crazy scramble in the Watford six yard box but the Gills contrived to miss the opportunity. Having matched our opponents in slippery conditions this left the Gills looking a little down-hearted but still it was pretty even-Stevens until the 36th minute when King was harshly penalized on the edge of the box. From an invitingly central position Rinaldi slammed the free-kick at goal, Royce might have saved but it glanced off Crofts’ bonce to give him no chance. Game over
Well actually things might have changed soon after because the Gills did enjoy one more promising attack that was cynically and rather clumsily terminated by Rinaldi on Facey. Last man, a goal scoring opportunity but just a booking ho hum… the subsequent kick routine from Southall and Bentley predictably came to nothing
Second half and we settled down to enjoy the Gills give it a real go if nothing else. What we got seven minutes in was our third red card of the season (at this rate we’ll clock up 75 by May, Pulis would be green with envy…). Rinaldi (yes he was a busy lad), skipped through midfield chasing a loose ball he wrong footed Sodje who raised his arms in the time honoured fashion to let an opponent through, only he succeeded only in catching the Watford player with his elbow as he turned away with his back to him. From our vantage point it looked like a harsh booking, our gobs were well and truly smacked when Mr Friend pulled out the red juicy one. Having seen it again on Sky Sports News (the fucktards at Meridian failed to show all the goals, let alone anything else on the local news – cunts) it could be viewed as deliberate from the camera angle and we have decided not to appeal but it was indicative of our luck with officials this season.
We should have had a penalty at Cheltenham, their defender should have gone but no; at Watford we don’t get the benefit of the doubt effectively ending the contest in a meaningful way. We battled hard King caught the eye (rather than the back of the head of any stray opponents), Watford added a third with another smart header by Campana from another well flighted diagonal ball on 71 and we slumped in our seats before the gallows humour kicked in
Our evening was a finally summed up with a late melee in the box which finished with sub Colgan missing an absolute open goal. Cue the “couldn’t score…” retort from some rather disillusioned travelling fans. With Sodje suspended, Mulligan injured and patience running out with Jepson it was a miserable evening for all of us. Worst of all though is the growing realization that the team is completely lacking in pace. Ponderous is not the word. An asthmatic hamster would outrun our team at the moment. Not only do they lack sharpness, they lack basic fitness and when they do get fit the suspicion is that our top speed will still be slower than Nicky Southall doing a Sudoku. It doesn’t bode well.
Champagne Moment:- Gallows humour in August? It doesn’t bode well! “You couldn’t score in a brothel” directed at OUR players two matches in, followed by the old Iffy song involving Scally’s missus lightened the mood