Like all good things, the winning streak at home had to come to an end some time.
Frustratingly though, as seems to be the norm recently, it ended in a match where it perhaps really shouldn’t have.
Credit to our visitors Oldham, who came and had a real go against a side ten points better off in the table at kick off, but once again there was just something not quite right about the Gills display.
It wasn’t awful, not by any stretch, but once again there was a lack of intelligent game management at crucial stages.
After taking a deserved lead we once again got sloppy, and despite the first leveller looking offside we had plenty of opportunities to clear.
Credit the boys for showing the character to retake the lead, but once again we then frustratingly shot ourselves in the foot.
It has become a worryingly recurrent theme recently.
Teams are not having to work too hard to breach our defensive line, and the third goal we conceded was another example.
One long diagonal ball, the striker not marked tightly enough. Goal.
But in fairness to the back four today, they didn’t have enough protection in my opinion.
Time and again they were left woefully exposed by a midfield that seemed half a yard slow to most things.
Aaron Morris – who I thought played well – was targeted with the cross field ball, and due to midfielders tucking in he was repeatedly getting doubled up upon.
‘Azza’ filled in manfully at right back.
On the other side Brennan Dickenson got little or no help either, so perhaps the most annoying thing as a spectator was watching it happen over and over again with nothing done to counter it.
Further forward I thought both Luke Norris and Rory Donnelly both proved a real handful.
Donnelly took both of his goals very well, and Norris did a lot of the unseen hard work that perhaps doesn’t get appreciated as much as it should.
For instance, his role in the opener was vital, holding up play before freeing Dickenson down the left.
Justin Edinburgh came out straight after the final whistle and lamented his sides inability to control the game once in front, but also praised the fact that we avoided defeat despite not being at our best.
At the moment this result rightly feels like a case of two points dropped rather than one gained, but once again we need to look at the bigger picture.
The winning home run may have come to an end, but the unbeaten run has not.
Anyone in their right mind would have happily taken 16 home points from a possible 18 if it was offered to them back in August.
Like they would also have accepted the offer of being 4th after eleven games.
This young side is one that is still very much learning, but they are learning fast.
And as the old cliché goes, it is a marathon not a sprint.
Gills Player Ratings
Stuart Nelson – 6.5: A strange afternoon. Not loads to do, yet conceded three. No chance with any of the goals.
Aaron Morris – 7: Tested all afternoon, sometimes seemingly on his own, he stuck to his task manfully.
John Egan – 7: Won’t be happy at conceding three, but he kept to his work all afternoon.
Max Ehmer – 7.5: Solid as a rock. Competed well in the air against a bigger man in Higdon and looked more composed than many.
Ehmer has returned to somewhere approaching his best.
Brennan Dickenson – 7.5: Like Morris on the opposite flank he found himself one versus two too much, but he didn’t let it faze him. Set up the opening two goals.
Josh Wright – 7: Not at the level of recent displays but still comfortably the most accomplished of the Gills midfield. Done well in the build up to the equaliser.
Jordan Houghton – 6.5: Plenty of effort and work rate, but some way off the levels he reached in the week. Looked out on his feet late on.
Doug Loft – 6: Another who dropped well below the standards of Tuesday. Apparently he was carrying a knock, and it showed before he was hooked at half time.
Bradley Dack – 6: Gone right off the boil after his early season exploits. Cannot fault his endeavour, but one second half effort aside he was kept quiet.
No goals, but another top display leading the line from Luke Norris.
Luke Norris – 7: Another tireless shift that came without real reward. Done superbly well to release Dickenson for the opener, and occupied the visitors back four.
Rory Donnelly – 7.5: Two more smart finishes, he deserved more than just a draw. Worked hard and was a threat for the full 90 minutes, he is swiftly making himself undroppable.
Jake Hessenthaler (Loft) 7: Took a while to get involved, but after that he made a difference and scored a brilliant leveller.
Cody McDonald (Norris) 6.5: No goal from the bench today, but the fitness and sharpness continue to return.
Emmanuel Osadebe (Wright) 5: A late introduction, but made no impact. Struggled to adjust to the pace of the game.
UP THE GILLS!!