Not a Good Friday at all but plenty of Easter gifts!
So this was yet another “Must win” game with a long journey on Good Friday to Kent. It was another good turnout of gasheads with over 700 attending with the feeling that a couple of thousand were holding back for the trip To Peterborough if these two Easter fixtures could yield 6 points with other teams up there dropping points. It was a sunny day with a chill in the air at a Priestfield ground where to be honest I can’t remember much success over the years and team selection disappointed me again. Partington after an impressive game at Wimbledon was back on the bench and it was wingbacks again with Sinclair the play anywhere role and Ellis up top on his own. Well I supposed it worked at Wimbledon but rightly or wrongly it never impresses me but football is ; after all; a results business and Darrell knows far more than me. The game turned out to be a case of Patience being rewarded with us having to go for a win. It is easy for me in hindsight to say that after equalising the first Gillingham goal that came from one of many long throws into our box we should have retained a bit of defensive stability but that is not DC’s game and in throwing the kitchen sink at Gillingham our hopes went down the plughole!
Reliable as always. Dealt well with the majority of crosses and throws sent into our box.Didn’t have a great deal to do other than deal with long throws but positioning was always good although his distribution went near the end where he rushed too much when a throw to the full back would have retained possession.
Lockyer 8.5 MOM
Best game from Tom of the season. Raided down the wing time and time again and always read the situations well. He was brought down for the penalty and for once outshone Sweeney.
Worse game I have seen him play as he looked off the pace but everybody is allowed a bad game now and again. He still managed to win a lot of the ball in the air and was pushed up as an emergency targetman at the end as we really showed our lack of a big man upfront.
Not convinced he is physical enough for this division. Very good on the ball but I really would have preferred to have seen either Partington or Burns playing as they at least are OUR players next season and we have not really seen enough of either. I do wonder if we are having to play the Chelsea man.
Did reasonable. rarely gives the ball away which was a bonus yesterday compared to some of our players but nothing spectacular which was probably our biggest failing yesterday with far too many average performers.
Another who was just OK. Battled well but is no longer the force he once was.
Awful game where he ruined all his good work with his final ball. The pitch didn’t help him but really that is probably making excuses for a below par performance with too much show boating and little quality.
Ok. For me he does not take naturally to the wingback position where there are three defenders behind him but no winger in front to create space for him. Put in a few crosses but not sure if they were poor crosses or good crosses that were not read by the strikers. I use the term “striker” very loosely as we just don’t have one of any quality.
Covered a lot of ground but not really sure of his role yesterday as he did not seem to actually do a lot and why oh why was he left as the last man to pretty well give the game to Gillingham.
Not the best penalty he has taken but the fact it went in the net makes it a good penalty. Billy made too many wrong decisions yesterday but the truth is that he is the only player who really looks likely to score but yesterday it just didn’t happen and after missing an easy one on one with the keeper where he put the ball well wide of the post he then should have set Moore up for an easy chance but was selfish and shot himself off target.
Another booking and some good footwork at times but little else and was rightly substituted at half time. Lumping the ball up to Ellis all the time is not the way to play and was certainly not very effective yesterday.
Subs: James 6
Worked hard. (Now where have I written that before) and laid a chance on the plate for Billy with a great pass but yet again did not get a shot on goal and that is the problem – He is a striker who never looks like getting off the mark and time is running out.
Always retains possession well and looks quality without being the striker we really need. Has everything that Ellis doesn’t but is it just coincidence that when Ellis is on the pitch we just hoof the ball up aimlessly but when Easter is there the ball gets played on the ground.
Didn’t have time to do a lot and by the time he came on we were really just going gung ho and were desperate and disorganised.
The pitch didn’t help us at all but that cannot take away that this was a poor overall performance where too many players were just average and the decision making was far too often poor with either the final pass or the final shot. Gillingham were there for the taking but Peterborough must be relishing our visit next week based on yet another below par and in many ways disorganised performance. It was certainly not a “Good Friday” but more like Easter presents given out early.
Over 700 fans is a good turnout but again left disappointed with an overall below par performance against a team who really were there for the taking.
Consistent and you can’t ask for much more although again not sure about his linesmen and the third Gillingham goal looked well offside but maybe he started his run from our half. it didn’t really matter much then because the game was lost.
DC Changes for changes sake comes to mind and I hope that Darrell will see that a consistent team can have advantages over constant changing of formations and personnel. Whilst praise is deservedly given in what has been a fantastic first season in League 1 we must all remember that our Manager is still a novice and learning. It may be that he proves himself elsewhere as a Championship Manager with the ability to use Money well in the transfer market but that is the area which for me he has not proved himself yet and we don’t really know whether it was him not spending available money or was the Money just not available. If it is the latter then he has done a fantastic job to get us into the top ten with a chance of the Play Offs there right until yesterdays game. On yesterdays game it was very much a case of having to go for the win but IMO overdoing it by totally ignoring defence far too early and as with quite a few away games caught out. I make no secret of preferring a flat back four because for me the back three is always susceptible on the flanks.
Gillingham 5 Looked for long periods a very poor side but provided three quality strikes all which should have been prevented with better or even average defending. I can see why they are where they are as apart from their long throws they really don’t have a lot in their locker. They will probably survive this year but will need a lot of work in the summer to avoid the drop next year.
So; with the season all but over barring an absolute miracle; we go into Mondays game with nothing really to play for other than pride and to get as many points as possible. I hope that we give players like Partington and Burns a chance , maybe even Harris as well.I would go for the following team assuming that Ollie Clarke, Leadbitter, James Clarke and Gaffney are still injured.
Partington Burns Sweeney Harris
Bodin Lines Sinclair Montano