Swindon Town fans were ecstatic this afternoon at Priestfield after rescuing a point late on thanks to a Hasney Aljofree header which almost certainly means Gillingham will be playing League 2 football next season.
Gillingham got off to the best possible start as Gary Richard’s headed home Nicky Southall’s cross past Town keeper Peter Brezovan to give Gills a 1-0 lead in the first 2 minutes.
Gillingham kept pressing and looked as if they would thump Swindon early on with Town wasting many chances to get the ball forward.
The Gillingham fans were firmly behind their side who knew if they got 3 points today they would stand a fighting chance of League One football next season.
It is no secret their is a huge rivalry between Swindon and Gillingham and the Gillingham fans let Town know what they thought of them. Chants of “stand up if you hate Swindon” and “we hate Swindon and we hate Swindon” rang around the stadium.
Town suffered a blow when defender Jerel Ifil had to leave the game with a thigh injury on the 33rd minute, Ifil was replaced by youth team player Sean Morrison.
Gilligham went into the half time break most certainly the happier of the 2 sides and looked the team in mid-table. Swindon however looked to be the team who were facing relegation.
Town came back out for the second half with an un-changed side and once again it was Gillingham who had most of the play for the second half.
The game was pretty much all Gillingham until the 88th minute.
On the 88th minute Sean Morrison flicked a ball onto Hasney Aljofree which hit the back of the net.
The Swindon Town fans were sent into raptures whilst the Gillingham fans stood in silence knowing their survival hopes had been hit with a fatal blow.
Town fans began to sing “going down”, “your going to Shrewsbury” among other things whilst celebrating.
Gillingham did not really deserve this after a fine performance on the afternoon but we know from being relegated. Football is a cruel game.
The final whistle was met with a huge cheer from Swindon fans and chants of “we sent the Gills down” started. The Gillingham fans stood in silence knowing that if Cheltenham won later on that day, They would be down. Town fans mocked the Gillingham players and staff chanting “going down” whilst the Town players celebrated on rescuing an away point.
Cheltenham would go on to lose 2-1 to Oldham meaning Gillingham live to fight another day, however they are playing Leeds United at Elland Road, in front of 38,000 fans.
Will Gillingham stay up? It looks very doubtful.
Peter Brezovan – 7
Made some great saves but the wind looked to affect his kicking somewhat.
Jack Smith – 7
Another good performance from Smith who has found his form once again.
Jerel Ifil – 6
Did ok but missed a couple of clearances that almost cost the team before leaving the game with a thigh injury.
Hasney Aljofree – 7
Did very well and scored the goal that will almost certainly send Gillingham down bar a miracle.
Jamie Vincent – 6
Pretty poor game from Vincent who kicked the ball out quite a bit in the early stages. Regained his composure later on.
Jon-Paul McGovern – 6
Had some decent runs and didn’t really do a lot wrong.
Craig Easton – 7
Another good Easton performance. Worked well in midfield alongside Timlin.
Michael Timlin – 7
Put in some hard crunching tackles and done pretty much what he has done since returning on-loan from Fulham.
Anthony McNamee – 6
Fairly poor game for “Macca”. Gave the ball away a bit. His confidence away from home is certainly different than at home.
Simon Cox – 7
Ran his socks off as usual and was unlucky not to score.
Lee Peacock – 7
Played well up front as he has done since returning to a strikers role. Put a couple of shots over the bar.
Sean Morrison – 7
A massive defender. Looked a bit nervous when he came on but then settled in nicely. Set up Aljofree’s goal
Billy Paynter – 6
Ran around quite a bit and had a few attempts on goal. Passed the ball to Morrison who set up Aljofree’s goal.
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Not really on long enough to judge but ran about when he came on.
Maurice Malpas – 7/10 – A game of two halfs really. The first half we were shocking however the second half we calmed down and had a few chances on goal. Malpas has had a rough go of it since arriving in Wiltshire however we is now making his mark on the team and Town are unbeaten now in 3. If Malpas can bring in the right players, we are getting somewhere.
Mark Stimson – 8/10 – Stimson knew his team had to get 3 points to stay up. His team to start with looked mid-table whilst Swindon looked the relegation team. Stimson’s side went ahead early and in all honesty should have went ahead by 2 or 3. When Town applied the pressure at the end it seemed inevitable that Gills would concede. Gillingham now need a miracle to stay up.
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Coca Cola League One: Swindon Town V Millwall, Saturday 3 May 2008, 3pm kick off at the County Ground in Swindon.
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