Before I go any further, I need to ask one question. Where are we in the league?
Top you say? Bloody marvellous isn’t it.
And today’s gritty display had all the hallmarks of a side that has the capabilities of lasting the distance.
Of grinding out a result when not at its best; winning ugly.
Justin Edinburgh has already labelled this 1-0 victory as ‘the best three points of the season‘, and considering the last minute changes you can see his point.
Stripped of three of his regular back five, this was a different performance to those that have seen off Sheffield United and Wigan in previous home games.
This was more guts than guile, but boy do this lot work for each other.
However, a win is a win, and the shut out meant that the boys in blue have conceded only one goal in their last six home games stretching back to last term.
Doncaster became the third side to draw a Priestfield blank this season, and Notts County’s goal last May – in a 3-1 defeat – came after further clean sheets versus Bradford and Rochdale.
In fact the last side to score a winning goal in Kent were Fleetwood at the start of April.
That is some going at any level, and all successful sides have been built on a solid base.
But who rated what during today’s encounter?
Stuart Nelson – 7: It is no coincidence that having a regular coach at the club has coincided with Nels returning to his best. Made a cracking stop late in the first period to keep his side level, and was tidy in everything else that he did.
Ryan Jackson – STAR MAN 8: Superb display at right back, he was solid defensively for the whole 90 minutes. Boundless energy meant he was a threat bombing forward, and his long throw is becoming quite a weapon.
Man of the Match: ‘Jacko’ has proved to be a very astute addition.
Max Ehmer – 7: Back in the side and looked like he’d never been away. Considering he didn’t even have a centre back next to him, let alone a regular partner, he was first class throughout.
Doug Loft – 6: Fair play to the skipper for volunteering to fill in at the back, but he did look shaky. Positionally he didn’t look comfortable which lead to him looking rushed in possession. Never shirked his responsibility though.
Bradley Garmston – 6: Back in the side, he was steady rather than spectacular. A lack of minutes showed at times, his pace getting him out of trouble, but didn’t offer enough offensively.
Josh Wright – 7: Making the deep lying ‘quarterback’ role his own. Knows when to keep it simple, but always has a killer pass in his locker, as shown when getting Ben Williamson in behind late on. Simple but efficient again.
Jordan Houghton – 7: Another tidy display from the Chelsea loanee, he is quick becoming a vital cog in a well oiled Gills machine. Slightly surprised to see him withdrawn considering his efforts. Fatigue perhaps?
Jordan Houghton can feel a little unlucky to have been taken off.
Emmanuel Osadebe – 6.5: What he may lack in experience he certainly makes up for in energy and commitment. Never stopped running, and always showed for the ball even when things weren’t going his way. Grew into the game as it went on.
Bradley Dack – 6.5: Not his best display, but he still had a hand in the winner. Another who will never hide away and runs for fun. Kept going despite being hindered by what looked like a badly cut and dislocated finger.
Cody McDonald – 6: Still looking for full fitness and match sharpness, the hour he got will do him good. One snap shot aside he didn’t really have a proper site at goal, but he worked hard without the ball.
Luke Norris – 7: Another decent shift from one of this season’s real improvers. Hasn’t trained all week, but he still occupied the visitors back four before going off late on with severe cramp. Unlucky with one 25 yard effort.
Jake Hessenthaler – 7: May have been disappointed at dropping to the bench, he played like he had a point to prove when he came on. Got involved immediately, was tidy in possession and showed great composure to score the winner.
Game changer: Is Hessy starting to step out of his dad’s shadow?
Ben Williamson – 7: Another substitute who made a difference. He may not be prolific, but he doesn’t stop working and occupies defenders. Unfortunate to see his lob bundled to safety late on.
Rory Donnelly – N/A: On late for the cramping up Norris.
So there you have it, another Saturday at home, another clean sheet and another three points for the Gills.
Say we are top the league!!
UP THE GILLS!!