Writer: Gillingham Editor
Date:Saturday February 17 2007
A fortuitous late goal robbed Gills of what could possibly have been the most unjust victory in football history against Northampton.
Jordan Robertson scored the goal which cancelled out Dean McDonald's header just after the hour, but the scoreline fails to tell the story of the match.
The Gills were atrocious, not least in the first half, and when they did take the lead, it was totally against the run of play.
The home side, with the worst home record in the division, created a catalogue of chances but were unable to take any of them until Robertson's smart finish four minutes from the end.
It was vital that the Gills got something from the game, so in that respect it was a pleasing point, but there was not a lot else to cheer the 669-strong travelling support.
Match Report by Chris Dicketts
Dean McDonald`s first goal since November was not enough to give the Gills all three points at Sixfields.
The game finished in a draw with many Gills fans thinking we were lucky to get that having been outplayed for much of the first half before a dire affair in the second half, yet the Gills defence took their eye off the ball in the final few minutes allowing Jordan Robertson to grab the equaliser for the Cobblers.
The early stages were all Northampton and if he had not been for the ever-impressive Romain Larrieu between the posts the Gills could have found themselves out of the game long before the interval.
The first real chance came from Sam Aiston for Northampton after Ben Chorley could only half clear the danger but Larrieu saved well with his legs.
The Gills had few chances in the first half, the first came from the head of Mark Bentley from a Danny Jackman free kick but he could not keep his header on target.
Young Alex Pearce - on loan from Reading and who put a commanding performance in at the heart of the defence - then headed just wide, before Cobblers keeper Mark Bunn had to make a fingertip save to deny Matt Jarvis' lob from the edge of the area.
Ben Chorley headed over from the resulting corner, but after that it was pretty much one-way traffic for the rest of the half as Larrieu had to make another fine save to deny Andy Kirk before Andy Holt hit the post when he rose highest to head a corner goalwards.
The Cobblers had a few other chances in the first half but could not find a way past 'le keeper` in the Gills goal.
At half-time it was 0-0 and with the Gills not being involved in a 0-0 draw since January 2 2006, it was highly unlikely the game was going to finish that way, with the Gills scoring goals but also shipping them too and so it proved.
Not long into the second half and it was evident it was going to be an edgy affair with two teams that could not afford to lose the game so it was to turn into a battle of the midfields.
Even so, it was the Cobblers who looked the more likely, so it was a big surprise when the Gills took the lead on 61 minutes.
The goal was a horror to concede - Cobblers boss Stuart Gray must have been pulling his hair out - as they spurned numerous chances to clear before the ball looped to McDonald and the smallest player on the pitch had time and space to send a superb header into the far corner.
This served to wake the Northampton team as they pushed forward in waves to try and get the all important equaliser in their fight for survival.
Once again the Gills goal was leading a charmed life especially as the ball was headed across the area by Kenny Deuchar and three Cobblers players failed to find away past Larrieu once again.
As time ticked down on the clock it looked as though the Gills were going to take an undeserved 3 points back home to Kent but the travelling faithful could see what was coming especially after Aiston - who became more and more of an influence on the game - hit a shot that from behind it looked like it was going over the bar only for it to clip it on its way over.
The panic was starting set in, but even the doom mongers in the away end (and those in the defence) could not have forseen the way in which the Cobblers would finally break through.
Aiston miscontrolled the ball on the right-hand side and Danny Jackman tried to whack the ball out of play, only to smash it straight into Aiston.
Jackman - who otherwise had been impressive - fell over and Aiston had time to pick out Robertson 15 yards out and he sidefooted in.
Both teams had half chances to win it with Robertson forcing Larrieu to tip round the post after the impressive Leon Johnson lost his footing, while at the other end of the pitch the Gills were awarded a free-kick which was swung into the box, it was half cleared and Flynn unleashed a volley that went well wide of Bunn`s goal.
It was an effort that summed up the Gills' lacklustre performance and they were definitely fortunate to escape with a point after another awful away-day showing.
Date:Saturday February 17 2007
Thrilled Allen Scoops Award (Tuesday May 21 2013)
King Calls It Quits (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Experience Pair Wanted (Monday May 20 2013)
Pre-Season: Gills Add To Schedule (Wednesday May 15 2013)
Pre-Season: Lions Coming To Town (Tuesday May 14 2013)
Payne Set For Permanent Posh Switch? (Monday May 13 2013)
Former Loanee Opts For Portsmouth (Saturday May 11 2013)
That Could've Been Me (Friday May 10 2013)
Hessenthaler Leaves Priestfield (Tuesday May 7 2013)
Trio Honoured By Their Peers (Tuesday April 30 2013)
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