Tag Archives: Gillingham

AFC Wimbledon 3 Gillingham 1 – A Match Report

He scores with his left. He scores with his right. That boy Jack Midson makes Kedwell check his bank balance and at least be assured he can pay off his mortgage. It wasn’t our former skipper, or his team mates day, kept very quite by the Dons defense. Although to be honest this was more a case of the Dons having a particularly good day while catching the visitors on a bad one… we’re fourth at the moment, and loving it, but an ordinary looking Gills side still had enough about them to cause us a few problems in the second half, albeit at 0-3 down.

Had it not been for that clinical early spell this could have been a much harder game than it turned out to be – seasoned Dons fans were left biting their fingernails after a well taken Lee goal half way through the second period threatened a Gills comeback. But as the Dons were forced further and further back, that goal proved mere consolation as the at times desperately defending Dons held on. In fact the home side could have extended their lead on a couple of occasions, Jolley leading pacy counter attacks looking for either the repeat performance of his Port Vale goal (which you would guess is going to work for him sometime or another), or someone to get on the end of one of his crosses (again, were hit into decent areas, but his fellow forwards have great difficulty catching him when he’s in full flight…).

Actually it was a bit of a surreal day all round. This hot spell we’re having made it seem more like I was heading off to a pre-season game… only the full house when I got there convinced me otherwise. It was a little hot and sticky in the terraces to say the least, not that I’m moaning about that – we’ll be shivering away in a couple of weeks. And we certainly caught Gillingham cold (hmmm…) with a red-hot start (hmmm… again…).

You could probably question Gillingham’s defending for the three goals, but then again if you scrutinise every goal scored in this division you’ll find somewhere the conceding side could have tightened up in 95% of them. The first Dons goal was just unfortunate, a big Dons punt up field, the visiting defender just slipped… yet you have to take advantage of such fortune, not something Dons teams have exploited in the past.

The second arrived just two minutes later, Hatton delivering a low cross from the right that Jolley just wanted more to double the lead, much to the home supporters surprise. It was probably inevitable on this particular day that Jack Midson would find his way onto the score sheet, and when the goal arrived in the twenty-second minute it was a bit of a Wimbledonesque disaster for the Gills defence. They looked like they had dealt with Christian Jolley, who looked more likely to fall over himself than cause the visitors any problems. Yet a panicky stab goalwards found Midson, who was never likely to miss.

Wimbledon being Wimbledon the only danger of holding a 3-0 lead with pretty much seventy minutes of the game remaining is our leaky defence might throw it away, but they’ve improved considerably in recent weeks and were unfortunate not to go on and keep a clean sheet. Gillingham might have had more luck if they hadn’t left it until the second half to add playing some football to a game plan that had previously only involved trying to rough up the Dons players. Their front men barely had a sniff – the aforementioned Kedwell looked a shadow of the man who was destroying Conference defences on the same ground twelve months previously, and I only realised Nouble was on the pitch when he somehow stayed on the pitch after slapping Seb Brown to the floor ten minutes into the second half.

Gillingham’s goal was the best of the game, Lee picking up the pieces and guiding the ball into the top left corner from the edge of the area, and the fear was the home side would fall apart. A second goal would have been crucial, but the home defence stood firm, held together by our new skipper playing like a man possessed. Despite some inconsistent defensive performances as a unit, Jamie Stuart has been in form this season, the master of the last ditch interception, and although he didn’t perform his party trick of a knee-high headed clearance, he did just about everything else.

That’s three wins in a row for the Dons, and although you still get the impression of the two sides on the field yesterday the visitors are more likely to be in the promotion picture come May, we’re doing fine. October is a tricky month for us, so the more points we can put on the board early the better, if we find ourselves still in the top half of the table going into November we’ll have done very well indeed.

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Gillingham Preview

So yesterdays ode to Kedwell means I’m all Dannyed out right now, its time to concentrate on tomorrows actual game rather than what sort of reception the great man will get. Although interestingly Keds himself seems unsure of what sort of welcome he’s going to get – proof if anything that not only do players take note of what is said on social networks and message boards, but negative comments have a habit of overwhelming the majority of well wishers looking forward to his return. Fortunately the minority who want to boo him (without wanting to demonize them – they have every right to express the disappointment we all partly share) should be overwhelmingly drowned out by those of us looking forward to thanking him for his contribution to our amazing story. That is until 3PM, when we’ll join together to remind the fat pikey he should have stayed at the big club…

One thing I do want to say before I move on to the preview itself is this story where Danny promises not to celebrate any Gillingham goals… and I have to say I don’t really agree with this type of taking respect way too far that is creeping into the modern game. Goals are the most glorious part of the game, what strikers live for, yet even the most prolific will only get to feel that moment of elation twenty or so times a year. If Kedwell repeated his effort at Luton a couple of years ago tomorrow, I wouldn’t expect him to hold back his celebrations for my benefit – as long as he isn’t baring his arse to the Tempest I’d probably be too caught up with the shock of conceding a goal to notice. Still, a nice sentiment, says a lot about the man, but Danny – what makes you think Gillingham are going to score anyway?!

The Gills management team of Andy Hessenthaler and Nicky Southall seem to be building their visit up as a trip to play the Crazy Gang circa 1986 in downtown Basra, rather than a side who has the potential of laying out the welcome mat (despite recent improvements, we all know they still have it in them), combined with an atmosphere – despite the best efforts of the Tempest and a handful in the KRE and JSS – that more often than not barely reaches simmering. Those 750 Gillingham fans might make a lot of noise, sadly the away enclosure seems to act as some kind of sound bubble, so they’ll only be heard by anyone wandering within a twenty yard radius of them.

Kedwells return has brought the prospect of a Kedwell/Stuart battle, the sort of clash that you would expect more often than not would result in at least one of them picking up a card of some colour, had they not apparently been quite good mates who were still in regular contact with each other. Yet another intriguing battle could be taking place alongside, with Callum McNaughton taking on West Ham team-mate Frank Nouble. With McNaughton looking as though his loan may not be extended, this could be his last appearance at TCRRFSKM for a while, and hopefully he’ll want to go out by keeping his fellow Hammer quiet.

Another player facing his former club is Rashid Yussuff, not that he had much of a Gillingham career, by all accounts he wasn’t exactly highly regarded in his eight appearances. Yet he’s had a full season in a Dons shirt, and is starting to look better and better, to the point he is becoming the sort of player who can run games. He still has the odd stinker as shown against Aldershot, still very much a work in progress – like the team – but could go on to be a leading midfielder in the lower division.

All this talk of former players coming up against their old side, friends and team mates squaring off has disguised the fact we’re looking at an early season top of the table clash. Now we’ve passed the ten game point we can look at the League table as some kind of guide to strength – it’s still nowhere near accurate, and won’t be until nearer Christmas, but the Dons sit seventh on merit. I always like to judge which game is the ‘biggest’ in each division by adding the positions of each team and seeing which fixture has the lowest sum… and we aren’t quite game of the week material, Southend-Shrewsbury comes in at a meagre five.

Yet it’s another of those moments when I catch myself wondering how the hell we got to a position where we’re facing off against Gillingham in a ‘promotion’ clash. We might not find ourselves troubling the top seven for much longer, so lets enjoy it while it lasts. And hell, I haven’t even thought of what I might do if we actually win tomorrow, which is probably more likely than a few of us are allowing ourselves to believe.

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The Anonymous Don on Gills365

With Danny Kedwell’s departure sealed last week, Gillingham fansite Gills365 got in touch to ask my opinion on their new frontman. Although after two seasons of quality performances I might have given the impression they have signed a superhuman cross between Pele and Jesus…

The piece can be read over on Gills365 here, feel free to add more dimension to the Dons perspective in the comments (just try not to contradict me too much…)

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New Round-Up 29/5/11 – No News

Looking back, relaunching my semi-regular look at all the latest Dons news just after the season finished wasn’t the best of plans… fair enough, seven days ago we had the worlds media – from heavyweight journalists to bedroom bloggers – falling over themselves to publish articles about the Dons. Now, well there are a few post-Eastlands stories still dripping out – Kedwell can’t do a piss, anyone? –  but beyond that local reporters up and down the country are having problems filling column inches.

The same reporter spoke to Terry Brown shortly after, trying to find a new angle on the Dons Eastlands triumph by questioning the Dons manager on competing in the same division as Paulo Di Canio next term. I’m kind of imagining this interview took place over the phone, with Brown perhaps mowing the lawn at the same time…

Either way, there’s not too much of a discussion to be had here – Swindon will either challenge Crawley for the title or finish 17th depending on how their rookie manager settles in (and, indeed, who is scouting his players for him…); the Dons will finish upper or lower mid-table depending on how a largely unchanged squad copes with the transition to L2 (and remember upper mid-table in this division equals the verge of the playoffs).

That hasn’t stopped the non-story being leapt on by not only myself, but a Swindon website desperate to fill post-season gaps in service provision (the Swindon guy kind of misses the point a bit as well… although Brown hasn’t managed at L2 level that’s more down to a fluke of history than any lack of talent on his part, he’s managed at most of the grounds in the division, knows most of the players and nearly all his fellow managers…).

This lack of information is a problem across the country. Take our captains name being mentioned in this interview with Andy Hessenthaler… now Kedwell to Gillingham will always be one of those rumours that just won’t go away, and I can see him going there at some point – next summer if he has a storming season and Gillingham get promoted (and we don’t…). Until then, Keds has another year option on his contract, which he has by all accounts committed to. Even if Brown succumbed to an act of compassion and allowed him to talk to his hometown club, he’d be looking for a fee at least in the region that Crawley offered last summer, a sum approaching six figures, and I just don’t think Gillingham are going to want to pay that.

Finally, the club announced on Thursday that next seasons pricing will be announced ‘very soon’, in the mean time season tickets will be available at last years prices until 17th June. From some of the chatter I’ve heard from even non-regular supporters looking to take up a season ticket for next year, I’ll be surprised if we don’t break records again his summer…

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The General Specific (Thursday 5th November ’09)

So Terry Browns idea of reinforcements after a 3-1 defeat at the bottom club in which we saw a disjointed midfield and makeshift back line is to sign a striker? Ah, but this is by no means an ordinary striker… this is Luis Cumbers. The man who changed the course of Womble history by nodding into an open net and level the Ryman Playoff final at Staines, less than two years ago… In fact, I say man, but Luis is still just a boy, albeit a much stronger and physical looking boy than he was when here previously.

Perhaps he will write himself into the history books again at the New Den on Monday night? Indeed, Gillingham have allowed him to feature in the FA Cup this season, meaning the possibility has opened up that the Gills may allow his loan to extend beyond the one month initial period, maybe to the end of the season? Could there really be a possibility he may turn the loan move into a permanent deal? Well, lets not get carried away, Luis has to prove himself again to the Dons fans despite his goal against us in the draw at Ebbsfleet. Plus I’m sure if he impresses it may encorage the Gills to have another close look at him.

It’s likely that if Keds and Main are fit he will start on the bench, but is more likely to get the nod to come on than Monague, who will have to find some form after a promising start at the club and now finds himself slipping down the pecking order. Remember we still have an unfortunately injury hit kid in the reserves that wants to prove himself, and may get that chance at Monty’s expense…

I haven’t talked about Millwall yet, partly through cautiousness really. The news that we have already passed the 2500 mark has stung me into action now we find that there is a cap on ticket sales at 3400. Which seems frustrating with Millwall ensuring the two stands next to it are devoid of Millwall fans in their lower tiers… surely there isnt a safety implication in housing Dons fans there? I would imagine we should be mighty annoyed if the remaining tickets go by the weekend then arrive to see hundreds of empty seats in the visiting section…

There is more to this cup game than I care to write at the moment, in truth I’m saving a lot back for the main preview on Saturday (a bumper Anonymous Don special!) but wanted to have a moan about ticket sales in the mean time. In reality we should be lucky we have got over 3000 tickets, that certainly wouldn’t have been the case if we had visited Barnet or Dagenham, perhaps even somewhere like Brentford too?

Plus there is an important cup tie taking place at Kingsmeadow tonight, as the U18’s play their first ever game in the FA Youth Cup proper, having seen off Kentish Town, Hayes, Thamesmead and Tilford on their passage through the qualifying competition. A fixture at home to Sutton United, fellow Ryman Youth Leaguers, gives them a fantastic chance of progressing to a home Second Round game against Bournemouth. Without wanting to put pressure on the youngsters, it seems they have a better chance of moving to the third round and taking on Premiership Acadamy sides than our First team has! Win, lose or draw this evening, the lads have got further than any Dons side has in the competition so far, and I for one will certainly be hanging around after I collect my tickets for Monday in hope that they can go one step further…

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