Gills looking overcome away day hoodoo

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Frustration is a word being commonly used in the opening of the Gills’ campaign. 

The opening three games have left Gillingham with just two points and having scored just one, not the start optimistic supporters had expected. 

It seems teams have come to Priestfield with a draw seen as a good result, so set their stall out from the beginning of the game just looking for a clean sheet, and counting themselves extremely lucky if they find the net themselves. 

This was a tactic that Chris Sutton’s Lincoln City came to Kent with, playing ten men behind the ball from the start, scoring when a shot from ex-Gill Albert Jarrett was fumbled into the path of Cian Hughton who calmly finished. 

The Imps then set about their pre-match game plan, frustrating the Gills into misplaced passes and aimless runs. The Priestfield crowd were growing restless but the players on the pitch could not break through Lincoln defence, and some boos were echoed from the Rainham End at the half time whistle. 

The second half saw the introduction of Curtis Weston and an attacking impetus into the side. Attacking phases were beginning to be created but the Lincoln defence held firm.

Adebayo Akinfenwa was one of positives to come out of the game, showing very tidy ball control, impressive awareness and a great ability at finding space for himself and team mates. 

Akinfenwa was almost rewarded for his display as he hit the post as the Gills became increasingly desperate with the game coming to a close, but to no avail, Gillingham could not score, and the game finished 1-0 to Lincoln and ugly, frustrating, yet effective football. 

Another positive was the performance of new signing Matt Lawrence, an experienced defender previously of Crystal Palace. Lawrence looked strong in the air, good in the tackle and added natural width to the side. 

Gillingham next travel to Morecambe in the hope of ending the dismal away record stretching back to May 2009. During the 2009-2010 season, the club seemed to be under a curse which saw them defeated as soon as the Gills step out of the comfort zone of Kent. 

Teams which had been beaten comfortably at The KRBS Priestfield stadium were beating Gillingham just as comfortably in the return leg, which lead to the last day capitulation at Wycombe confirming the clubs relegation. 

In interviews, players have mentioned how they are eager to overcome this hoodoo and how fed up they are of being unable to pick up these valuable points especially in the hunt for promotion from League Two; chairman Paul Scally’s pre-season expectation. 

Manager Andy Hessenthaler is very keen to change the mentality at the club and start producing results away from home and take the Gills back to League One, with a squad certainly capable of this goal. 

*Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

League Two

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