6 September – Gills 3-0 Grimsby Town
Another pleasing win kept the boo-boys largely at bay for another week, and rightly so. To my eyes we are now watching the sort of side that Stimson wanted to build but didn’t have the chance last year. He’s now had the chance to breathe, assess his resources, get them fit and organised and it’s beginning to look as though the side we have are going to be better than a lot of what this division has to offer.
He made mistakes last season and I’m sure he knows that. He has already shifted out what he doesn’t need, yet the starting line-up still contained six of his non-league recruits from last year and all suggest that they are going to be influential this season. Ok, I don’t think Fuller and Nutter are any better than adequate at this level and I still haven’t seen enough of Lewis to judge, but Oli, Miller and Jackson can help shape this campaign. Some will have it that Miller is lazy, Jackson is lightweight and Oli cannot stamp his mark on a game, but I personally think those three have plenty of quality to worry everyone in League One. Oli in particular impressed yesterday, particularly defensively (he had a bit of bother measuring his crosses, but it was blowing a hoolie) and Jackson could easily snaffle 25 goals if he keeps getting decent service. Weston and Daniels were a cut above the rest but those players weren’t available to us last year.
Others still prefer to moan. I don’t agree that Grimsby were the better side for long periods, as some have suggested, and I still feel the reception afforded to McCammon when he came on by pockets of the crowd was pathetic, but we have to live with such prats and they’re entitled to their warped opinions. We flew out of the blocks, bombarded them with corners and got behind them down the flanks (including a sensational move down the left in the first half involving several one-twos involving Nutter and Daniels), plus our retention of possession in difficult blustery conditions should be recognised. Grimsby had a decent spell in the first half where Royce made a couple of excellent saves, but in the second period they only came close twice – rattling the bar from 30 yards with a superb lob which may or may not have crossed the line (and admittedly may have changed the the comprehensive outcome if it had made it 1-1), and a long mazy run from Till that should have been snuffed out earlier but ended with a shot straight down Royce’s throat. Other than that King and Richards mopped everything up comfortably.
The breakthrough came relatively early, Jackson turning in the umpteenth corner after half an hour, and we undoubtedly deserved it at the time. We had to wait until the 70th minute to clinch the points, the ludicrously inept (ha!) McCammon doing well to create a chance for himself and finishing at the second attempt. He’ll need to score at least one a game to win over some of the pricks in the Rainham End, but at this stage I’m just happy that we’ve got plenty of attacking options from any combination of Big Mac, Little Jack, Oli and Mullers.
The best was saved till last. A four on two break was about to lead nowhere when Weston was upended 30 yards from goal. With many previous attempts on goal derailed by unpredictable gusts caused by our fucking awful British weather, you had to fear for the safety of the Grimsby fans stranded exposed at the top of the Town End, but Daniels swept an absolute beauty into the top left hand corner. Every bit as good as Super Bob’s ingenuity during 1999. We’ll know more after the trips to Shrewsbury and Aldershot how good we are. A promotion winning side will snatch four points from those games, but if we only manage two I fully expect the doubters to be venting their spleens once more.
The best free kick at Priestfield since the real glory days.
The Morty Vicker