Monday, February 21, 2005

Deja vu

There I was, thinking that by taking advantage of Newcastle's Saturday off and accompanying a Gillingham-supporting friend to Molineux I could avoid being reminded of the Toon's failings for an afternoon. But no. There was comically bad defending aplenty, of the sort even Messrs Bramble and O'Brien would be ashamed.

After a very flat first half in which Wolves dominated possession without ever seriously threatening the opposition goal, Gillingham came out much more determined and Darius Henderson gave them the lead after a cock-up from former Mackem defender Jody Craddock. Five minutes later Kenny Miller took advantage of slack marking to equalise.

Then, in the 90th minute, just as it looked like ending 1-1, Michael Flynn capitalised on another defensive error to lob Michael Oakes in the Wolves goal right in front of the away section.

But - in a fashion horribly familiar to Newcastle fans who watched vital points thrown away very late on in consecutive games at Birmingham, Blackburn, Portsmouth and Spurs last season - Gillingham inexplicably allowed substitute Leon Clarke to nick in and salvage a point for the home side.

Molineux is always a tough place to go and so a draw was a good result for a team in the Gills' predicament, third bottom of the league - but fans greeted the final whistle with a mixture of satisfaction at a sound performance and frustration at the knowledge that the two points lost might prove fatal to their chances of survival. Though Plymouth were stuffed 5-0 at West Ham, close rivals Coventry came from behind to beat Reading at the Madjeski Stadium, and so Gillingham actually found themselves worse off than before kick-off. Football can be a pretty cruel sport sometimes.


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