Saturday 1 March – Gills 0 – 0 Yeovil Town
This was another home game devoid of thrills, spills and most crucially of all, goals. Scoring goals might indeed be the hardest thing to do in football but Gillingham Football Club are managing to make it look nigh on impossible… Since the turn of the year our home games in League One have finished 0-1, 0-0, 0-0, 1-0, and now again 0-0. After virtually two years without a 0-0 draw at home or away we’ve now endured four including Orient away in the matter of weeks. We are now officially a binary football team, we make the Italians at Napoli in the late 70’s look like happy go lucky football fantasists… scoring 20 and conceding 20 in their 30 match schedule!
Now not all this is bad news, we’ve managed to somewhat stem the tide of goals going in at one end but sadly our already problematic attack that has been about as effective as a chocolate teapot since Chris Dickson’s loan finished has now completely given up the ghost. Three goals in nine games is pathetic, absolutely criminal, particularly when one of the three was a meaningless fluky pot-shot in the dying seconds at Walsall with the game already lost and a second was a penalty.
Obviously the situation hasn’t developed overnight, we’ve struggled for goals since the sale of Marlon King, and given the loss of the likes of Agyemang, Henderson and more recently Byfield and Matty Jarvis we’ve been left with non-scoring strikers like Mulligan and Facey, non-league try-hards like Oli and Griffiths and a promising young scamp by the name of Jackson who is yet to receive one decent bloody pass whilst wearing a Gills shirt since he signed! Add to the controversial departure of Graham (for whatever reason, rumours about his attitude did the rounds but we’re really none the wiser) and the axing of Ndumbu-Nsungu and the options are decidedly thin on the ground.
As to the actual game, well Yeovil turned up in the midst of a poor run and an injury crisis, they didn’t look great and hardly threatened. It was arguably Royce’s quietest game for the club. The Gills defence looked solid, Cullip is a significant addition to the mix, but then the problems begin. The midfield lacks real pace, guile, invention and creativity. Miller looks good in fits and starts when he isn’t falling over but without Bentley the rest look committed, enthusiastic but lacking in that something special. Up front we began with Facey & Griffiths which wasn’t a popular move but apparently it was a case of “horses for courses” given Yeovil’s ahem, physically robust approach. I’d still have started with Jackson, but hey ho.
We started okay but never really got up a head of steam, it was scrappy and uninspired played out to a sullen and cynical crowd. Obviously the Stimson honeymoon is over (and I don’t bloody blame anyone given some of the total catwank we’ve had to put up with) but it can’t help the fragile confidence of some young and inexperienced players trying to find their feet at a new club to feel the fans being quite so quick to jump on their backs at the slightest hint of indecision let alone an error.
Back on the pitch and we huffed and puffed but nothing of any real significance happened. Where was the urgency, the attitude and the fight? – We are in a bloody relegation struggle for fecks sake! Thankfully the second half was less turgid and without looking great we should still have won had it not been for the referee and some bad luck. The biggest shout came on 70 minutes when Griffiths stormed into the box, Forbes got entangled, fell on the ball and then decided to hug it to his body rather than allowing the attack to continue, the most blatant hand ball you ever did see, the Rainham End howled for a penalty but the gutless fuck-faced coward of a shitbag referee Deadman (I fucking hope he is soon) bottled it, looked to the linesman who also bottled it thus robbing us of half a chance of finally managing a shot on target.
Soon after it looked like the deadlock had finally been broken when a decent Miller cross was diverted goalwards by Yeovil defender Skiverton but sadly it skidded against the base of the post instead, the cheers stuck in our throats, confirmation that it wasn’t going to be our day.
Yeovil tried to help us out, their young substitute Mayer came on with 16 minutes to go and one dreadful two footed attempted leg-breaker on Simon King three minutes later he was walking off in disgrace. Sadly even against ten men we lacked the guile to make the break through and with the referee unwilling to apply the laws of the game correctly and give us two if not three or four penalties the game finished irritatingly goalless. A mixture of muted applause and mild booing greeted another point towards safety but in reality a missed opportunity. For all our dominance, our flurry of corners and steady effort the magic ingredient up front continues to elude us meaning relegation will continue to haunt us for the rest of the season.
Champagne Moment:- Well I suppose it has to be the fact that King’s leg was still in one piece after the tackle, it made a grotesque noise and he was carried off on a stretcher but apparently no serious damage was done. Phew.