MATCH REVIEW Gillingham 0 V Newcastle United 1 (Rusty Egan OG)
Tuesday August 26, Priestfield Stadium, KO 7.45PM, Capital One Cup.
Conditions – Overcast with slight drizzle
Attendance – Full house
At face value a 1-0 victory at lowly Gillingham through an own goal may seem like United didn’t have things all their own way, but nothing can be further from the truth. The reality is that a 3-0 victory would have been a fairer reflection of United’s dominance as they dominated long periods of the game playing , at times, some neat and inventive football through midfield with both fullbacks, Haidara & Janmaat plenty involved. Sissoko strolled through the game, once again not punching his weight, and with the ability of how not to play a ball with a deft touch, Aarons showed that we could have a crowd pleaser on our books with his pace and directness, De Jong looked a long way from full fitness, Riviere played wholly with his back to goal and look a frustrated man when he was replaced, Abeid was neat and tidy and fought well for the ball when he lost it, Krul hardly got his gloves dirty, Coloccini hardly broke sweat, Taylor’s notable contribution was to take an eternity to tie his laces in the first half, Obertan was his usual self, promising at times yet a total liability the rest of the game.
As for the master tactician’s substitutions; Cabella, a ringer for Kenny Wharton physique-wise, came on for the injured Aarons, the lively Perez replaced De Jong and Gouffran got a few minutes when he substituted Riviere.
As related earlier, United mainly strolled through this game against a spirited Gillingham side, having the ascendancy from the first minute when they sussed that the home time were fielding 3 centre halves. The margin of victory could (and should) have been greater, but more than often a lack of bodies in the box meant that some decent work down the flanks wasn’t rewarded. Perhaps some players were under orders from the master tactician not to get too far forward or maybe, like Sissoko they just couldn’t be arsed to get into forward areas knowing that the game was virtually over once United took the lead. However, as seasoned Toon fans are all to acutely aware, the slender lead was nearly equalised as around the 70 minute mark United imploded for a couple of minutes, presenting Gillingham with opportunities that they had failed to create for themselves. A half decent save by Krul keeping United in the lead after some slack defending.
As a spectacle the game will hardly linger in the memory, indeed such was the lack of atmosphere the game was held in almost near silence at times, save for hearing the players shouts on the pitch.
Fair play to the Gillingham faithful for joining in on the 17th minute applause to the 2 perished mags, wether you support a shite team like them or a shite team like us, the overwhelming majority of fans are one and the same. Cheers Kentish men.
So it was a relief to depart the Priesfield and the worst ‘away’ end that I think I’ve ever encountered, the stand made me feel like I was in one of the temporary stands at the last hole of a pro golf tournament, and Gillingham is hardly the sort of place where you’d be in a hurry to return to. That and another insipid performance from Pardew’s team, lack of goal action and the fact that it took an hour just to get back into my London bolthole made me wish that its another 30 odd years before we visit Kent again. And it’s not the Kent that is the garden of England, home to the White Cliffs of Dover and of the Canterbury cticket ground. No, Gillingham is one of what I learned is the ‘Medway Towns’ not the sprucest part of the country.
My final thoughts are that at least wer’e in the hat for the next round, fuck knows we may have the delights of Milton Keynes next but whilst Pardew continues to approach the game with a safety first mentality, watching the Toon is becoming a bit of a chore. However, we’ll support you evermore.
Thanks For Listening
(name and address supplied)
Gillingham: Bywater, Legge, Egan, Davies, Fish, Hessenthaler, Dack, Pritchard (A Morris 46), Hause, Kedwell (Norris 65), McDonald (German 65).
Unused subs: G Morris (GK), Hoyte, Dickenson, McGlashan.
Newcastle United: Krul, Janmaat, Coloccini, Taylor, Haidara, Sissoko, Abeid, Obertan, de Jong (Perez 68), Aarons (Cabella 60), Rivière (Gouffran 86)
Unused subs: Elliot (GK), Dummett, Anita, Ferreyra.
Referee: Oliver Langford
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