Tue 7 October – Gills 0 – 1 Colchester United JPT2
Whatever next, a 1-0 defeat at Priestfield. No doubt we’ll draw Col U in the FAC at home and we’ll lose that too. This was a depressing evening but oh so familiar to the rapidly dwindling band of daft buggers that keep turning up game after game to be utterly board to tears. Eighteen games in 2008 in all competitions 13 goals scored, 13 conceded and aside from the last two minutes of the Huddersfield game, the first half hour against Bournemouth, the last thirty minutes against Luton on April Fool’s day, the first two minutes against Swindon, large parts of the Accrington game and portions of the Grimsby game it has been turgid, dreary, messy, nervous, plodding drivel.
It’s not that we are terrible and get thrashed out of sight at home (notwithstanding Crewe), just that the laughably chronic inability to score a fucking goal (is it REALLY THAT FUCKING DIFFICULT???) means if we go behind we’re fucked and at 0-0 everyone sits in resigned sullen silence expecting nothing exciting or thrilling or significant to happen. We’re watching football minus all the good bits, the drama, the skill, the adventure, the controversy, the ebb and flow, and the goals. It is hard to criticise the players in one way because unlike the mercenary wankers purporting to be professional footballers that didn’t give a flying fuck that Stimson inherited, we’ve now got a bunch of honest toilers who try hard but in the main are just not very accomplished footballers. It is best not to hark back to the Championship or the Pulis/Taylor promotion campaigns or you’d jump screaming into the Medway. It is reminiscent of the darkest days under Flanagan pre-Scally when it was like watching a constipated aardvark try to compose some poetry whilst juggling dung balls. The football is pointless and directionless. Away from home we’re comically prone to the occasional utter capitulation but at Priestfield we try just hard enough to squeeze all the zip, zest and fun out of association football leaving a shrivelled husk of hoof, whistle and throw.
The fans left watching this slow motion car-crash of a team (half have quietly and sensibly buggered off since the Championship days) are still remarkably stoical and resilient particularly given the knowledge that there is nothing we can do at the moment regarding the Big Picture whilst Scally sits in Dubai sunning himself and awaiting the day when the Gills move to some new fangled stadium near Chatham Dockyard and he can cash in. Naturally fans therefore focus on the immediate here and now, the faults of the players and more noisily the manager. It was ever thus… Now at the moment it is unlikely Stimson will get the chop given we are in the top half and on the edge of the play-offs but if we keep on grinding out tedious home victories by the odd (own) goal alternated with thumping humiliations away from Priestfield then the already restless natives will chase him out of town. After nearly a year of big promises and radical surgery to the squad people now fell that the team are regressing which puts Stimson’s neck most vulnerably on the block.
With only nine games gone and the quality of the division obviously dreadful all is not lost, but the concern is more the way we are playing than the results (13 points). Tuesday night was just another ninety minutes of “Same old, same old” from the Gills. We probably edged the first half and went the closest but it was hardly thrill a minute stuff and the second half was just wretchedly dull and messy.
So on to the details I suppose, well briefly here goes: Southall came back from his loan spell at Dover and looked ordinary, Leigh Mills partnered King at the back and did reasonably well, Barcham went close early on, a superb Jarrett free-kick narrowly cleared the bar and half chances from Jackson and King and a long range thump from Southall kept United on their toes whilst at the other end the visitors sporadically threatened but created just the one real opportunity which Royce saved and Hammond fluffed the rebound.
The second half was curiously flat and then unravelled, not helped by a pedantic, one-eyed twat of a referee and his almost equally bonkers linesmen. Had it been a League game I’d have been spitting feathers as he gave some hilariously insane decisions in favour of Colchester but it wasn‘t so just I slumped in my seat and watched us get mugged by a blatant dive by the little blonde scrote Yeates who duly stepped up and curled the ball into the bottom right hand corner to the delight of the 80 or so United fans. So half an hour to save the game. What did we do? Well bugger all really. With fifteen minutes left we replaced our midget strike force of Jackson and Barcham with two more dwarfs, Andy Pugh and first year scholar 16 year old Tom Murphy to no real effect. It then got even more weird with Garry Richards coming on as a third centre back for the lively Jarrett with ten minutes to go. We did have a little flurry of pressure at the end, Pugh nearly got on the end of a through-ball and Cousins had to save from Nutter plus Royce came up for a corner but to no avail. To be honest I wasn’t too upset we lost, the last thing I wanted was an away tie in the next round at Shrewsbury… we await the FA Cup draw with weary trepidation.
Champagne Moment:- With kids under 12 getting in for free I had to laugh when twenty minutes in I heard one small child plaintively tell their Dad “I want to go home now” to which the father replied “no son, it’s still the first half, you’ve got to stay for the second half too – right until the end – Mum isn’t picking us up in the car until nine-thirty near the co-op.” Poor little bugger, probably scarred for life now…
The Resigned To Our Fate Binman.