Stunning strike and its 9 points out of nine Mar 13, 2019 10:55:56 GMT TaiwanGas, eppinggas, and 1 more like this
Post by stevek192 on Mar 13, 2019 10:55:56 GMT
Another away day and another ground where over the years where we have had a pretty terrible record but this season has been, particularly under GC , a season where we have put bogey teams to rest so with two wins behind us I approached this game same as I have recent games with a two match "plan" and that was 3 points out of the next two games and anything else was a bonus. It actually came as no shock whatsoever that we started with an unchanged team. The thing about this plan is that if we do win the first game then I then look at the next two games ie Charlton and Plymouth with the same criteria!!
it was a cold wet and windy evening at the Priestfield Stadium although in all honesty it turned out better than expected and to add to that Gillingham showed good sense and seated us in the corner of the stand instead of perched up in the open end. Well done to the home side on that.
The game itself was a close fought affair and personally I felt it was a good all round performance with our centre halves excelling throughout and every player giving their all for the cause. Some were a bit disappointing but if the effort is there then there is a good chance the battle will be won and that is how this game turned out to be. There was ;of courser; the bonus of knowing that if we beat Gillingham then we would overtake them based on our far superior goal difference- it is so good that it can be taken really as an extra point and the way I look at it is that before this game we require 54 points to stay up so 5 wins will do it out of 11 games-6 away and five at home- usually the unbalance in favour of away games would fill me with fear but this season and under GC it holds no fear. I can not remember a season where our away record was better than our home record but who cares really as the important thing is that we hold on to our League One status and it doesn't matter where the points come from as long as they keep coming. I will describe the game through the individual performances.
Bonham 8 Thanks to the excellence of the centre halves he had very little to do in the way of grand saves, in fact I can only remember one real difficult shot low to his left in the second half that he held on to excellently ahead of the inrushing Eves. What impressed me was another performance of solid basic goalkeeping dealing with mainly crosses and handling so well. Gone are his early games where he had to make save after save . nowadays we are a tough nut to crack before it gets to him.
J. Clarke 7 Whole hearted as always and puts his body on the line and most of the time he kept his winger at bay although on a couple of occasions he was caught for pace. he found himself up against two players at times as Fuller regularly came forward. he is a player who I felt we should have tried to sign when he left Wimbledon and he has certainly caught my eye as a tough opponent.
Lockyer 8.5 Not far behind Craig for MOM He is on such good form at the moment that his distribution problems have all but gone and we are left with Mr Reliable. IMO there is not a better reader of the game in this division and last night he was totally assured and marked Tom eaves so well that Eaves tried to get away from him and then find Tony craig just as tough to beat.
Craig 9 MOM Possibly his best game for us. solid throughout and very vocal. there were times where both him and Tom Lockyer had not only their own players to worry about but the skilful wingers as well but they both did brilliantly with Craig for me just edging Man of the Match. it would have been very easy to give the award to Clarke-Harris for his stunning goal but for me what won us the game was the two central defenders who both handled Tom Eaves expertly and restricted him to comical falls and blatant cheating as well as a few occasions where he verbally threw his toys out of his pram!but its all part of the game
Kelly 6.5 Stuck to his task well as was up against a pretty good winger and on the night Gilliongham's best player particularly first half and he needed the help of Tony Craigs solid defending on several occasions
Upson 8 One of his best games, I do not go along with the criticism he gets because as far as I am concerned he holds the midfield together with his understanding of the game and keeps prompting away, getting in vital tackles and using the ball effectively to build attacks and can always be relied upon to be covering the back four and allowing the other midfielders to go about their tasks. Add to that his dead ball kicks are now looking very dangerous and one quickly taken free kick should definitely have been put into the net.
O. Clarke 6.5 Not at his best and probably not that happy with being asked to play on the right side but still got in some useful challenges and probably at times he over tried and in doing so was slack on too many occasions with straight forward passes but still played his part in what was a hard working midfield unit.
Ogogo 6 He was everywhere in the very early stages but he was soon struggling from a challenge and it was showing that he would not be able to continue and was replaced by Sinclair.
Sercombe 7 came into the game more and more. his goals are deserting him and wide left is not his position but he fault manly for every ball and gave a hardworking performance and put in some dangerous corners. Opponents seem to know his game and are making sure he is harassed whenever he gets in shooting distance but he keeps working to turn to get the shot away and I am sure it won't be long before he hits the net again.
Nichols 6.5 Still his shooting boots are missing but his football ability is not and was always looking for the creative pass. Unlike a lot of his recent performances he did not have a great deal of success but is definitely a good foil for Clarke-Harris with his clever runs and ability to hold the ball up and bring others into the game.
Clarke-Harris 8.5 The biggest compliment I can pay him is he looks very likely already to be our "Andy Rammell" with the big bonus that he is still learning the game and an even bigger comparison would be his stunning winning strike to the goal that a certain Ricky Lambert scored against Swindon. I could continue the similarities to that of Alan Warboys and if only Nicholls could find his scoring boots we could have another Smash and Grab. He wins so many balls both on the ground and in the area and has the physical strength to hold the ball up and lay it off to great effect. He is in fact everything that we were missing this season and who knows where we could have been this season had he been signed earlier. His goal was just unbelievable - great control with a clever turn and burst forward and then a stunning strike from about twenty five yards that hit the net almost before the tall keeper moved. If it isn't goal of the season for us then we certainly will have to see something very special to beat it.
Subs: Sinclair 7.5 On as an early sub and didn't let us down. he seems to have come back with renewed energy and no lack of skill. I have long had my doubts about his ability as a League 1 player but I have to say that he has really impressed me recently with a willingness to press forward and play forward passes. I even wonder whether he should be starting in the wide right midfield position in preference to Ollie Clarke but certainly he is a very useful squad player.
Jakubiak 5.5 Didn't really get into the pace of the game and haven't yet seen signs that he could build a partnership up front. If he became available at the end of the season I think there is something there that could well develop and would be worth a punt.
Kilgour Nole The very fact that with a few minutes left GC was willing to bring him on to protect the 1-0 lead speaks volumes. I very much hope that he is given a chance when Tom Lockyer misses the Plymouth game.
Crowd 8 I have always found Gillingham to be a very intimidating crowd - never much in the way of songs but one that can and does sway the referees. I don't know how many we had there-I would say about 250 but backed the team vocally throughout and at last are getting the reward that the support deserves.
Ref 6 Ok although felt he was swayed by the crowd with a few strange decisions. Didn't give us much but who cares when we win!
Gillingham 5.5 another team that have been on reasonable form and therefore are a reasonable side but we have made them look pretty poor. Very much an aerial team who rely heavily on Tom Eaves and don't look like they have a plan B. Certainly wouldn't mind their right winger and although we overtook them last night I don't see them as a side that are going down and think they will get enough home wins to stay clear especially with teams like Southend around who seem to be on a downward spiral.
GC- Has done absolute wonders since taking over and if he keeps us up then he deserves the chance to lead us into the new season. I am interested to see what sort of football we will play because he has managed to find a formula that works for the players we have ,has brought in what looks like two excellent additions and also the team seems to brilliantly represent his enthusiasm. I will not go overboard until his tasks have been achieved but certainly cannot dismiss his results so far.
So we move on to a tough home game against a Charlton side who have lost only once this year and their record this year is
Played 10 Won 6 Drew 5 and lost 1. Their only defeat was a 1-0 reverse at Fleetwood and they sit 5th on 66 points and with an 11 point gap between them and the seventh placed team look certain to be involved in the play offs.
It will be an interesting game and really gives us a chance to continue on from the Blackpool game. As stated previously I will be satisfied with 3 points out of the next two games but if we could get those Saturday then I would expect to see us climb a few more positions and maybe set up a 6 point gap and still with a game in hand...that would certainly be nice!!! UTG