Taking the Bescot

Saturday 26 January – Walsall 2-1 Gills

Bloody Bescot Stadium. Bloody bloody Bescot Stadium. How many times is this going to happen? Time and time again we go there, nothing interesting happens and we get beaten by the odd goal. OK, not always, but we’ve only won once there in 14 attempts. It doesn’t matter what division we’re both in and which team is in the ascendancy, the outcome is invariably the same. Dull dull dull, then a goal and we all go home moaning about how grim the West Midlands is.

The redeeming feature is the welcoming social club, with a mighty fine pint of Banks on the handpumps, a rare treat in any kind of football club drinking den. But everything else -the atmosphere, the setting squeezed amongst light industry, a spider web of railway sidings and the M6, and most of all what happens on the pitch – is always bone-wankingly funereal.

This year was little different. We actually played ok, and probably deserved a point. The Saddlers are on a lengthy unbeaten run but were made to look pretty ordinary. We made a bright start but as ever we didn’t have any kind of cutting edge – we controlled the game for long periods but managed little other than to pass the ball from one flank to the other, in a huge arc around the home side’s penalty area. Walsall simply got everyone behind the ball and all we could do was huff and puff.

Walsall could afford to, of course. They scored out of the blue, a close range effort which we failed collectively to defend, Nutter failing to cut out the cross and neither Southall (who was ropey throughout) nor Bygrave succeeding in dealing with the physical presence of Mooney. Our own physical presence up front was replaced at half time by Leroy Griffiths, but too often both forwards found themselves scavanging out wide with no-one taking up sensible positions in the middle. Just as the home crowd started to get tetchy they hit us on the break and it was game over.

Why doesn’t the ball drop well enough to have a shot? All we got were off-balance pot shots from Thurgood and Southall. Why did Marlon King always seem to have the ball with time and space from 15 – 20 yards out, regularly rattling the back of the net from such positions? Because he had the touch, the vision, the reading of the game that our current crop lack. Ok, an extreme comparison as Marlon is one of the best forwards we’ve ever hard. Mulligan could read Jarvis’ game, often profiting from low driven centres, but he’s doing too much foraging for possession himself. We desperately need better service from the wings (Miller and Oli might yet be the answer but Bentley and Cogan aren’t). Thurgood and Crofts together don’t work as a central pairing  and Bentley is far better in the middle. And we undoubtedly need someone to snaffle at least 10 goals in the remainder of the season

When we finally had a decent shot, Crofts leathered one in the top corner from 20 yards, a cracking goal (and the first I’d seen this season away from home in six attempts). Utterly irrelevant, or so it seemed, coming as it did in injury time. Yet seconds later Griffiths found himself clean through but ran out of steam, the first genuine moment of excitement we’ve witnessed at the Bescott since Mark Dempsey scored in 1992. You watch, one day we’re going to go to that place and beat them 7-3 in a thriller.

Champagne Moment :

Two moments of individual brilliance : Crofts’ long-overdue goal, and a stunning second half save from Stillie while we were chasing the game.

The Morty Vicker

26 Responses to Taking the Bescot

  1. Bernard says:

    desperatley need at least one striker. looks like fleetwood is staying at forest green. i hope we can arrange something for simeon jackson of rushden and diamonds. he bagged another brace at the weekend.

    glad we’ve got a new right back in barry fuller – much needed in my opinion. southall is poor there. but he’s better there than midfield, says it all really. don’t see why we’ve signed stuart lewis though. apparently he’s a very god player and stimson must rate him highly, but centre mid isn’t particularly a position we’re struggling with is it?

  2. Disgruntled says:

    I think Cogan looked bright when he came on yesterday and always seemed to want the ball and be willing to attack defenders when in possession. I think he deserves an extended run in the team and with a little bit of confidence will be a lot more effective on the right than Bentley, who does not seem to be the right-midfield player he was last year. I also do not think Miller is the answer to our left-midfield position, granted he is the most forward thinking of our midfield players and will travel with the ball but he is found too often in the games more in the middle of the park giving Nutter very little options in front of him when he receives the ball, which he seems to be a lot from the Keeper. I would also like to see Stillie given a run in the team, the few times he has played he seems a good shot stopper and has better distribution than Royce which I think would suit our new found style of trying to build from the back. I am a bit concerned we have signed another 2 non-league players, especially as neither are a forward, we will continue to struggle unless we sign a forward who can score and create something for himself, the only one of our current forwards who has a cutting edge is Graham, but his days certainly seem numbered. Now we have 5 centre backs on our books and a number of centre midfielders I think Stimson may change to a 3 – 5 – 2, with Bygrave, King and Richards playing at the back (as I can’t see Richards joining us just to sit on the bench again or Bygrave and King not starting as they are both looking very solid at the moment), Southal and Nutter playing wing backs as both are good crossers of the ball, 2 of crofts, thurgood and lewis playing centre mid with Miller in the whole behind the 2 forwards (which I think would suit him a lot more than playing on the left) then any two of our players playing upfront cos none of them could hit a cows arse – which is clearly evidenced by the cheers received in the warm ups when one of the many shots actually goes in, on Saturday us Gills Fans were more at risk of serious injury from a wayward shot then the net was.

  3. stavros85 says:

    I’m not sure I do think he will go for 3-5-2 because his success has been built on 4-4-2 with the midfield being quite compact and the full backs pressing on to provide the width.

    Maybe Lewis has been signed as a replacement for Crofts or Bentley and we will play a 4-3-1-2 formation, which I think is more in keeping with Stimson’s football philosophy. Personally, I think he will and should keep Thurgood in the team because a destructive midfielder who, most of the time, realises his limitations is an essential element of a successful midfield – especially if you have full backs making attacks.

    I doubt Fuller can be any worse than Southall has been this season.

  4. Welshgill says:

    Cogan is a waste of space – a winger who has no pace, can’t take people on and can’t cross the ball is about as much use a chocolate teapot! Hence his appearance on the transfer list…

    Quite right about Miller though – he wanders too much to provide cover for Nutter when we lose the ball. Stimson and Miller have both said his being placed on the wing is a temporary measure until we get someone decent in and then he’ll move him further forward – the sooner the better I say….

  5. Jon says:

    Welshgill – Cogan’s not on the list. He bloody should have been, but he’s not.

  6. Cogan says:

    Cogan is a class act given the chance. Give him a full game and lets see what happens. He is one of our better midfielders at the moment. All this season Crofts has been pretty anonymous so i would like to see him scrapped! Maybe Bentley and Thurgood in middle, and stick Miller up front with Luis and see what happens!

  7. Welshgill says:

    Quite right Jon – I assumed he’d be one of the chosen few but I guess it was just wishful thinking!

    To be fair to Cogan he does give us some with width and mobility when he does play – but as he does nothing with it there ‘s seems little point in giving him a run in the side…

  8. Jon says:

    I’m sure “Cogan” above will be delighted to know he was given a go from the start tonight.

    The Cogan knockers, however, will not be surprised to know that he was absolutely abysmal.

  9. For God sake play David Graham says:

    ill admit i didn’t have the opportunity to go last night but if they were anything like they were on Saturday then I’m sure their keeper had an easy night.

    Seeing the result and the team which played its becoming more and more frustrating that he doesn’t play David Graham, iv heard that he doesn’t have the “right attitude,” well if the right attitude is to run around like a headless chicken and not even come close to scoring (I’m sure you all know who I’m referring to) then League 2 here we come. As a manager its up to him to influence and get the best out of his players which it doesn’t seem like Stimson has even tried with Graham.

    On a separate note a few of my friends came to the dismal Northampton game. It cost them £23 a ticket to sit with me. As we were walking out they said why do you put up with this drivel when for the same money you can watch a premiership game? Personally i couldn’t leave my club and do actually have a season ticket but what a rip off for the on the day paying supporters. No wander attendances are decreasing.

  10. Disgruntled says:

    Three cheers to Simpson, taking us all the way to League Two. I don’t care how much stick I get for this but he is taking us backwards not forwards, non-league players = non-league football. Why was Bygrave dropped to the bench, him and King have been rock solid in defence together recently. No Bentley, Southall or Facey in the squad, surely with his new Fitness Regime the players should be able to play 2 games in 4 days. I have no idea why he persists with Griffiths, useless absolutely useless. If we don’t win our next 2 home games I really think that could be it for us this season. Mr Dickson we miss you!!!!!

  11. Ever so slightly off topic here chaps (and chapesses) but for ages i’ve been unable to sign ino the rivals.net messageboard. Any idea what happened to it or if it got deleted or what? Ta!

  12. James1893 says:

    There may not be anyone to talk to on rivals Mr Monster, try Gillingham Fansonline instead.

  13. Jon says:

    Digruntled – Stimson got it wrong last night but I still think he’s the man… I assume Bentley is injured and he was a big miss. He’s got a few things to sort out – the complete lack of leadership shown by the captain being one of them – but when he gets a striker in, I still think we’ll stay up comfortably – and then really push on next season.

  14. Binman says:

    Bentley is injured. Last night at Tranmere was the first time (well 1st half anyway) really poor under Stimson. Richards had a mare in 1st half… we’d all have played Bygrave. Midfield was sluggish and same old story up front I’m afraid… full report on here tonight.

  15. Jon says:

    Looking forward to your account of the first goal, Binman… I know you didn’t see it!

  16. Disgruntled says:

    “First time really poor under Stimson” – surely that’s a joke. If that was the first time we have been really poor under Stimson we would not be 1 point above the relegation Zone!!!!! What about Barnet, Port Vale, Bournemouth, MK Dons, Northampton and Oldham. Those games hardly got the excitement going.

  17. Bernard says:

    you’re a joker Disgruntled.

    Barnet was the second game he was in charge, and he inherited every single one of the clowns on show that day. Port Vale came after we won away at crewe. mk dons we were missing our whole first choice midfield. northampton came after a fantastic away win at huddersfield and we had 10 men for 65 minutes against oldham! in fact it was a great achievement to gain a point!

    you really havent got a clue pal. you said earlier that you rate cogan and that you’d rather play stille than royce!!! what planet you on?

  18. Disgruntled says:

    Just because the poor performances came after wins or came early on in Stimson’s reign does not mean they were any less a poor performance. I don’t see how giving Cogan a run in the team can make us any worse, not as if we are creating lots of chances as it is, I would rather play Stillie as he has better distribution of the ball than Royce and considering we have started to build from the back logic like that obviously makes me on another planet.

  19. Bernard says:

    Actually you do have some good points.

  20. singingtheblues says:

    Easy there boys. I think we should all just wait and see what happens this Saturday and hopefully we will get all 3 points.

  21. Binman says:

    When I say poor I mean REALLY POOR… not just a bit unlucky or stitched up by a ref or missing crucial players etc. We were shite in the 1st half.

  22. Binman says:

    To clarify, against Port Vale, freak weather conditions, against Bournemouth we had 80% of play and couldn’t shoot, against MK Dons we were missing the entire midfield, against Northampton we had to contend with D’Urso and as for the Oldham game the ref was insane! No excuses last night though… Oh and I dd see the 1st goal, just not all the build up because a Tranny steward was going bonkers at Big Lee from Thanet…

  23. Bring Back Les Berry says:

    Why on earth would we play Stille for his distribution when we need some one to stop the numerous chances our defence gives the opposition? Based on his performances so far this season Royce is the best shot stopper we’ve had for years. I understand about building from the back, but that’s hard to do when the ball’s in the back of the net!

  24. Jon says:

    Glad you did see it Binman… I missed most of the build up as I was looking at the said disagreement between the steward and your mate!

  25. PettsWoodGill says:

    Agree with BBLB and Jon (and even Bernard !!!). Don’t painic just yet although Saturday is a big game. I said all along, judge Stimpson on the last third of the season. A bit concerned that he has not signed a striker yet as that is the obvious problem – last day of the transfer window so hopefully the shadowboxing will end and we get someone.

  26. Bring Back Les Berry says:

    I was watching the trouncings of Southend and Chesterfield on YouTube the other night – any chance we could get Lovell and Shearer out of retirement?!

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