Saturday 15 March – Gills 0 -3 Crewe
As we slid inexorably down the table there was a crumb of comfort to be had from a run of fixtures against sides in and around us in the League. Win those, went the logic, and we will be ok. So it’s fair to say that a shambolic 3-0 home defeat in the first of those relegation six-pointers hasn’t exactly calmed the nerves. In fact, the Gills now find themselves staring straight down both barrels of a relegation shotgun (if I can unmercifully mix my metaphors for a moment – and why not, Paul Scally does so with alacrity in his programme notes).
Oh, and speaking of which – I simply can’t type another word without quoting from the Gillingham Chaiman’s latest effort. Yes I know, I know, tedious in the extreme, but I need to pose this question – Is this the first time a Football League Chairman has roundly criticised roadworks on the A1 through the medium of the matchday magazine? Speaking of his return journey from Doncaster Scally was moved to comment `I pulled out of Doncaster last Tuesday evening and, as I drove down the A1, with its miserable roadworks and pathetic 30 mile diversion, I reflected how much effort everyone is putting into the club`. If I was him, I would refuse to deal with the A1 ever again.
Clearly the Gills Chairman was in a bit of a grumpy mood when he penned this missive, hitting out at `the doubters, the negative and the doom and gloom brigade`. In a piece of irony so savage it absolutely wouldn’t appear in an Alanis Morrisette song, our beloved leader went onto to compare the club to a marriage which needs to be worked at (I think we are in separate bedrooms at the moment). Remind me how many times Mr Scally has been married again – is it three or four?
Finally the Chairman declared himself amazed at `just how many people have jumped on the `knock-us` bandwagon. Apparently these people have jumped ship (I’m guessing the bandwagon they jumped on must have been parked on a ship, which they have now jumped off). The stark message to these people from the Gillingham Chairman `We know who you are`. How queer.
Now why, you may be asking, have you just devoted so much time to discussing the byzantine rantings of the Gillingham Chairman and not talking about the game. Well, my answer is simple – I refer you to the scoreline at the top of this report. So maybe I should start by listing the positives to come out of this game.
Ok, here goes:-
Positive number 1) Simeon Jackson’s 15 minute cameo which saw him muster more shots than our tawdry collection of so called strikers have manager in the last umpteen games.
Positive number 2) Errr….. no, sorry, that’s it.
This was a display best summed up by the actions of a gentleman sitting approximately 20 feet to my right in the Rainham End. At one point he spent so long bowed foward, head in hands that we begun to suspect he had actually died and rigor mortis had begun to set in. In the context of this fixture it was a performance that was totally and utterly unforgivable. Mark Stimson had commented pre-match that it was a game we couldn’t afford to lose – but lose we did, and if the manner of the defeat didn’t set alarm bells ringing in the manager’s office I’d be calling out an engineer to mend the alarm.
That it was not going to be our day was neatly summed up as early as the 9th minute, in a moment that even recent Gills defences at their worst would struggle to outdo. The Crewe keeper slipped in making his clearance, and his mis-hit was somehow allowed to trundle through to Tom Pope, with at least three Gillingham players watching it go past as if transfixed, and the visiting dignitary slotted comfortably past Royce, who then stood, arms outstretched and unleashed a tirade which presumably included the words `what` `the` `fuck` `useless` and `bastards`.
It would be nice to report that this incident galvanised the players, but sadly it did not. The first half drifted by with no suggestion that we have a side that is likely to create, nay score, a plethora of chances (one would be a start), which I guess is hardly a surprise from a team that had notched a princely sum of 1 goal in the previous 5 home games (total from open play – none).
Credit to the supporters here – yes that tawdry collection of negative , doom and gloom brigade, bandwagon/ship jumping twisted pretenders were seriously up for it at the commencement of the second period and did their part by producing the sort of atomsphere to which players are supposed to respond. Briefly we threatened, Adam Miller’s effort struck the upright – then one counter attack and lacklustre piece of defending later and it was 2-0, thank you and goodnight, please shut the door on your way out, and don’t annoy the neighbours.
From then on the atmosphere degenerated into petty squabbling and name callling (and that was just in our row of the Rainham End, so fuck knows what it was like in the rest of the ground.) The ever reliable stewards lightened the mood with a random ejection or two, and the supporters divided their energies between chants of `Stimson out!`, `Scally out!` and amusing themselves with some choice gallows humour.
There was still time for another fuckwitted piece of defending, Barry Fuller electing for the `ooh ooh linesman he’s offside, I’ve got my arm up and everything` approach, instead of CHASING AFTER THE BLOKE AND FUCKING TACKLING HIM YOU USELESS DIMWIT, which allowed Crewe to saunter through for 3-0. They could, and should have made it more, before, in a move that could only be described as bold, imaginative, daring and 75 MINUTES TOO FUCKING LATE , Simeon Jackson entered the fray and proceeded to demonstrate what it is that strikers are supposed to do. Apparently – and I say this for the benefit of Messrs Facey, Mulligan, Griffiths and Oli because I feel it may have passed them by (perhaps they were off that day in training) – it is having shots at goal. Who’d have thought it eh?
So where, you may be asking, do we go from here? You don’t really need me to answer that question do you.
Champagne Moment:- One of Crewe’s players went off injured, play restarted, and ref Joslin gestured towards that Medway Stand that he may re-enter the field of play. Which would have been fine had he not been standing on the Gordon Road touchline!