Many rivers to cross

Saturday 2 February – Gills 0 -0 Cheltenham

Let’s for a moment pretend we are a football manager and analyse this result in terms of ‘looking for the positives’. Well, the main one I would say is that we kept another clean sheet. On the face of it that might not seem a major achievement at home to a side immediately below us in the table, but it is worth considering that since Mark Stimson took charge we have shipped goals at a a smidgen over one per game. Okay, so that is not reach for the record books time – it doesn’t exactly compare with the legendary Pulis inspired 95-6 defence that conceded a miserly 20 in 46 games – but given the fact that throughout Rocket Ronnie Jepson’s stewardship we were letting them in at a rate of two per game (and I don’t even want to sit and work out what rate we were conceding during away matches) it does represent something of an achievement. In fact, I would say that a backline of Royce, Fuller, Nutter, Bygrave and King is probably the most solid looking defence we’ve had since the legendary Pennock – Ashby – Butters axis strode the Priestfield turf.

So let’s assume that Stimson has got the defence sorted (no doubt we will now ship 6 or 7 in the next match) and turn our attentions to the rest of the team. Hmmmm… work to be done here methinks. The midfield continues to underachieve – Andrew Crofts really has had a poor season, and the lack of a regular set up has not helped us. Jepson’s signings Aaron Brown and Barry Cogan have just not done it – Cogan is too lightweight and does not put in a full shift by any means, whilst Brown… well, sorry mate, but you just ain’t good enough. That’s the door over there, with the big signed marked EXIT. I think it is fair to say that the jury is still out on Stuart Thurgood – it appears you mostly either love him or hate him, and some alarming tales of his idea of `banter` the BMH collective heard recently would suggest the same might also be true of is teammates. Mark Bentley, meanwhile, has continued to put in his usual reliable performances, but has probably failed to match the standard he set last season. The brightest spark in the midfield is probably Windy Miller, but he often undoes his good work by trying the difficult option instead of the obvious one, or simply falling over too much.

If you ignore the on loan exploits of the much missed (and now injured) Chris Dickson, you can discover all you need to know about our forward line by from the fact that the top scorer has 5 goals. We all know Gary Mulligan will give you 100% lung bursting effort every game but that can never entirely mask the fact that he is a limited player in many ways. And Delroy Facey – well we have been pretty much accused of waging some kind of vendetta against him, and maybe some people think he is great, I don’t know. But let’s be brutally honest here, Mr Facey is a totally average player. Far from the worst striker we have seen, but he is just not the answer (not unless the question is `Who has the biggest calves in football? anyway). Facey has never scored more than 10 goals in a season throughout his 11 year career, and he is not about to start now.

So what of £150,000 signing Simeon Jackson? Well, according to some press reports he had a nightmare debut and missed a hatful of chances. I have to say that is not how I remember it. Yes he missed a couple of chances, but he also looked pacey, sharp and made lots of intelligent runs (which not so intelligent teammates failed to take advantage of!) There was enough there in his first 90 minutes to suggest that young Simeon can bring something different to the team.

Well, I seem to have written a 700 word match report without actually mentioning the match! Just take a gander at the scoreline – it really tells you all you need to know.

Champagne Moment:- The jelly beans at half time were quite nice.

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10 Responses to Many rivers to cross

  1. Welshgill says:

    Crikey, I didn’t realise Facey’s goalscoring record was that bad but a quick glance on Soccerbase confirms that it is! I thought he played better than usual on Saturday but that’s not saying much…

    Despite Thurgood’s lacklustre first half Lewis didn’t exactly set the place alight when he came on. We don’t need another anonymous, central midfielder – we already have Crofts for that! Let’s hope he improves when given a start…

  2. James 111 King of Surrey says:

    You sneaked in “many rivers to cross” just as I was making a few comments under your excellent article “Toothless not ruthless” but I agree that little Simeon has the ability to make us all happy provided he can get decent passes to his feet and not aimed 10 feet over his head. Why is it that with our current crop of lttle fellows up front ( Delroy excluded) we keep chucking high balls into the the middle promptly and very gratefully snaffled up by the 8ft tall gorillas that most of our opponents seem to have in abundance. Boundary bloody freezing Park next.

  3. SMF 10 says:

    Great posting, i agree with most of what was said, certainly think Delroy had a better game, at least he had a few shots this week. They may have been way off target but you can’t score unless you shoot. Jackson certainly looked sharpe in the first half was a shame he fell away a bit in the second (lets hope he a shorter Chris Dickson). Was a bit disappointed with the so called “man of the match” as didn’t think Miller did anything this week. Thought that one of the boys at the back should have taken the Champaign home as the King/Bygrave partnership has been a revelation, long may it continue.

    Has anyone else noticed the worrying way Royce is unable to come off his line? Does he need glasses to judge distances?? I wont deny he is a great shot stopper but made a mistake against Oldham and nearly the same on Saturday. Also seems rooted to the floor at corners and free kicks. Im not suggesting that Stillie is great deal better but at the Oldham game he seemed to inject more confidence into the defence with his constant chatter and talking to the defence telling them where he is and what to do. Too many times this season iv seen Royce and the defence shouting at each other trying to blame each other for mistakes due to poor communication. Let’s hope this doesn’t prove costly.

  4. Bring Back Les Berry says:

    I think I must be watching a different Facey to everyone else. The guy is terrible. He gets paid to play football, but can’t get a single shot on target in 90 minutes. Quite frankly, opposition defenders must rub their hands when they see what they have to stop in terms of our current attack (new boy excepted).

    By the way, the only person I’ve seen represent a Gills team with bigger legs than Facey was when Wolf from Gladiators played for the reserves just after Scally took over. His legs were huge.

  5. singingtheblues says:

    I certainly agree with the comments about Royce, excellent shot stopper but cannot command his box or defence. At least 3 occasions on Saturday he came for the ball and completely missed it and we were just lucky Cheltenham are about as dangerous as us or otherwise we could have been a couple of goals down. Stillie certainly puts in a stronger vocal performance than Royce which surely gives the defence a lot more confidence than Royce take for example against Northampton Royce failed to come for a long ball over the top and when he eventually did Bygrave was forced to clear, Royce then proceeds to lambast Bygrave (who stormed straight down the tunnel at the end) even though Bygrave was covering up Royce’s poor communication and decision making.

    I think Delroy Facey will be a much better foil for Simeon and for the first 25 minutes they looked like they may link up well, Simeon has said he likes to play up front with a target man and Facey is our only Centre Forward who will continuously win flick ons from long balls. Also, Facey is a real asset when defending set pieces and corners, he won numerous headers in our box on Saturday. If we were to get to the bi line more and deliver crosses into the box then think we would see more from Facey, but unfortunately with Bentley and Miller on the wings we rarely get into such crossing positions and when we do the delivery tends to be poor. I beleive Simeon will start to score but whether or not he will be as potent as Dickson and score enough to keep us up remains to be seen, It certainly says something when a loan player who played approx 14 games ends up being your top scorer for the season.

    Praise the Lord for King and Bygrave though, without those two we really would be in the $hit

  6. Simon Buttenshaw says:

    What is the ‘bi line?’ Have Stimson & Barratt been snogging on the side of the pitch?

  7. Bernard says:

    Anyone care to inform me of what Thurgood’s idea of banter is? Not heard anything about it…

  8. James1893 says:

    Apparently he is from the John Bonham school of practical jokers, when lager fuelled he is inclined to dump in the nearest bag. As long as it’s not his.

  9. Bernard says:

    That’s got to be bullshit. He wouldn’t be around for long if he did stuff like that.

  10. Binman says:

    More like human shit apparently… on the level… if that is the right phrase!

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