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16:59 29th August 2009

Simon Royce


Gillingham ended their losing streak with a useful away point at the Bescot Stadium and they will count themsleves unlucky not to have taken more from the match.

After experimenting with a 4-4-2 formation against Blackburn in midweek, Mark Stimson persevered with the tactic but replaced Kevin Maher with Danny Jackman in centre midfield.

The visitors thought they had stolen an early lead in the fourth minute as McCammon's one-two with Jackson allowed the big target man to slot low into the far corner. Celebrations were short lived though as the goal was ruled out for a handball in the build up.

In the 13th minute Mark McCammon returned John Nutter's throw on for the full-back to cross from the left flank, his ball fell to Curtis Weston in space at the far post but he blazed high over the bar.

Moments later Weston made amends with a great cross-field pass to send Barcham clear on the left, he cut inside to McCammon whose shot was blocked and from the rebound Jackson's cheeky back-heel looped harmlessly over the bar.

The visitors were reduced to ten men in the 19th minute when Barry Fuller, tracking back with Steve Jones, crashed into an advertising board. Fortunately after two minutes treatment he was deemed fit to return to the action.

Ten minutes later Dennis Oli tested Clayton Ince with a well struck shot from just outside the area but his effort was comfortably held by the Trinidadian keeper.

Moments later John Nutter's cross found the head of Mark McCammon though once again Ince was equal to the challenge.

Five minutes from the interval the home side had the ball on the fringe of the Gills box, they passed it from one to another before Jones finally elected to shoot straight down the throat of a grateful Simon Royce.

In first half stoppage time Jackson sent Andy Barcham scampering through on goal, he turned in the box to lose his marker but hit his shot tamely at Ince's feet.

HT 0-0

Walsall began the second half brightly, doubtless following a stern half time team talk but for all their endeavour they continued to look lightweight in attack.

Meanwhile the Gills were forced to replace Dennis Oli early on after overzealous referee Carl Evans issued the pacy winger with a final warning.

Shortly after Barry Fuller was grounded for the second time in the match after lunging in to block Deeney's shot. This time the blues captain was unable to continue and was replaced by Adam Miller as Chris Palmer dropped back into defence.

In the 68th minute great vision from Palmer allowed Jackson to get behind the defence, his shot from the right was batted away by Ince and, off balance, the Gills top scorer could only head the rebound into the keepers arms.

Five minutes later good work by the Gills forwards gave Jackman space to fire off a low drive but his scudding effort was too close to Ince to trouble the Walsall keeper.

The home side gave the Gills an almighty shock in the 82nd minute when Deeney stole the ball from Adam Miller and laid off for Sam Parkin to shoot from the edge of the box.

No one was more relieved than the mercurial midfielder to see his effort float wide of Royce's left hand post.

Despite five minutes added time neither side looked like scoring and the final whistle was a welcome release for the 3000 spectators.

Attendance: 3331 (257 Gillingham)

Gillingham: Simon Royce, Barry Fuller (60 Adam Miller), Josh Gowling, Mark Bentley, John Nutter, Dennis Oli (53 Chris Palmer), Curtis Weston, Danny Jackman (87 Kevin Maher), Andy Barcham, Mark McCammon, Simeon Jackson.

Subs not used: Garry Richards, Jacob Erskine, Alan Julian, Jack Payne.

Walsall: Clayton Ince, Stephen Roberts (69 Rhys Weston), Manny Smith, Steve Jones, Dwayne Mattis, Sam Parkin, Troy Deeney, Darryl Westlake, Peter Till (74 Darren Byfield), Jamie Vincent, Matt Richards (62 Richard Taundry).

Subs not used: Netan Sansara, Alex Nicholls, Mark Bradley, Rene Gilmartin.


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.