Gillingham – the club where the careers of ex-Stevenage managers see out their days? The evidence is best described as “tenuous” but that’s no consolation to Mark Stimson. He left us for the Gills in 2007, but since leaving Priestfield in 2010 has been at Barnet (ach!) and Kettering Town (sheesh!). He’s now at Thurrock (towie!). But if our theory is proved right, the current Gills boss might have cause for concern…
Ah yes, Peter the Tailor. A quick look at the 2007-8 Blue Square Premier table is normally enough to remember how our push for the playoffs fell apart in dismal fashion. After a 5-0 win against Droylsden in January 2008, we failed to win 13 of our last 20 games; including one win in the last four. And that came on the last day, when it was too late. Oh, and as the FA Trophy holders, we crashed out at the first hurdle at Dorchester. Yikes!
Mind you, he did do well at Hull.
Anyway, moving on… We put in an utterly fantastic shift on Saturday to take the win up at Posh and now we have another difficult away trip to negotiate. Our record against the Gills is embryonic and in need of tarting up. By which, we mean we’re yet to win in two attempts against the Kent side; Byron Harrison the hero when we earned a 2-2 draw at the Lamex in February 2011 after a 1-0 defeat at Priestfield a month beforehand.
Gillingham (A): Match Pack
How’s the form? Well, Gillingham have gone 12 games without a draw in the league, which is one less than we have. Danny Kedwell had netted in a run of five consecutive games that he’d played before the Gills’ 1-0 home defeat against Oldham at the weekend. So, the form book is giving little away for this one. But looking at how things are shaping up at our end, there’s a shimmer of confidence that we can make it two on the bounce.
Here is a referee who might appear familiar to some of you, especially if you had the pleasure of being at the league game against Leyton Orient earlier this season? In fact, we’re old buddies with Mr Malone after he first took charge of a Boro’ game back in 2004 at Farnborough Town. Our record when he has been in the middle is also quite good; we’ve won 8 out of 10 fixtures and scored 20 goals.
On the discipline front, he doesn’t like to card Boro’ players much – just 13 yellows in those games. That said, he did send off Dino Maamria in 2005 after an altercation with Woking’s Karl Murray that sparked some controversy involving Ian Selley. But we’d rather not dwell on that – try Joel Byrom’s goal from the halfway line against Crawley… Mr Malone was the man in charge that day don’t you know?
This season for Brendan Malone:
Games: 14 — Yellow: 36 (2.57pg), Red: 1 (Brighton’s Inigo Calderon)
Our record under Brendan Malone:
P10 W8 D0 L2 F20 A8 — Yellow: 13, Red: 1 (Dino Maamria v Woking, 2005)
FIFA 14 Verdict
Day; Gray, Ashton, Jones, Hartley; Akins, Doughty, Heslop, Freeman; Morais, Zoko
If we were GW, we’d make just one change to the team that started at Peterborough. And that is the enforced one due to Jimmy Smith‘s suspension. And we found that this was an inspired decision after Francois Zoko headed Boro’ into the lead midway through the first half. Moments later, Zoko doubled Boro’s lead with a powerful 20-yard effort. Cruising is the word we’d use.
But we got complacent. Gillingham were back in it on 34′ through Whelpdale and then hit the post. If you thought we’d crumble, however, we’d take great pleasure in proving you very wrong! An error on halfway from a Gills defender allowed Filipe Morais to burst in on goal, squaring the ball for Michael Doughty to lash home. No more goals were forthcoming; Zoko coming close to his third near the end, though. FT: Gillingham 1-3 Stevenage.
The drawless streak that both teams are on at the moment suggests that 12/5 at BetVictor and Ladbrokes might be worth a sneaky punt. The confident among you can get 2s on our victory with Ladbrokes, with Lucas Akins looking good any time at 12/5 (SkyBet). We are also wondering whether both teams will actually score – 11/10 is on offer if you don’t think that’ll be the case at Priestfield. At the time of writing…