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21:49 23rd November 2010

Callum Kennedy in action at Underhill


Amazing! Just like a London Bus you wait ages for one then two come along together. After waiting 35 games for an away victory the Gills registered a second in four days with a win at Underhill on Tuesday night. Of course things were made far sweeter for the hordes of Gillingham supporters that it was against Mark Stimson's Barnet. And boy were they happy at the final whistle.

Gillingham boss Andy Hessenthaler had the luxury of naming an unchanged side, the only change was on the bench where Luke Rooney, back from his loan spell at Eastbourne Borough, replaced Simon King.

The first half chance fell to the Gills in the fifth minute, Tony Sinclair knocked a free-kick forward, Chris Palmer helped it into the edge of the area from where Adebayo Akinfenwa fired wide.

Moments later at the other end, Mark Marshall went down in the area with Barry Fuller in close attendance, as a low ball came in from the right but referee Danny McDermid waved away the penalty appeals.

There wasn't too much goalmouth action to write about but then in the 17th minute Charlie Lee had a shot blocked, Palmer fed the ball back into Akinfenwa but his strike deflected nicely through to Bees keeper Jake Cole.

In the 22nd minute the Gills cut open the home defence for the first time. Cody McDonald and Chris Whelpdale swapped a couple of passes as they broke forward down the right then Lee played a one-two with Akinfenwa but as he reached the area the Peterborough loanee fired a low shot inches wide of Cole's right-hand post. From their angle many of the Gillingham supporters down the side of Underhill thought the ball had gone in.

Another great chance came the Gills way in the 29th minute. Akinfenwa was again the provider, setting up Chris Whelpdale to break into the area. His shot beat Cole but was headed off the line by Anwar Uddin.

Then in the 31st minute, moments after Steve Kabba had blown a reasonable chance, firing wide with Alan Julian out of position after blocking George Francomb's initial effort, Barnet took the lead against the run of play.

Kevin Gallen was able to run at the Gills defence before his poor pass looked to have ruined the opportunity. However Marshall took advantage to take the ball into the area before firing a low ball goalwards which seemed to take a couple of deflections before finding its way back to veteran striker Gallen who found the net from close range. Ironically it was his first goal for the Bees.

A ball forward from Palmer put Grant Basey under pressure from McDonald, the defender somehow allowed the Gills striker to take the ball off of him but Cole came to his team-mates rescue by blocking the resultant shot.

Just as two minutes time added-on were shown by the fourth official, the Gills were forced to make a change. Callum Kennedy limped off to be replaced by John Nutter.

H/T: 1 - 0

The second Gills change wasn't long in coming as Danny Spiller came on for Kevin Maher at the break.

Barnet got out of the traps quickly at the start of the second-half. First Julian saved a low Marshall effort with his left-boot then moments later the keeper had to turn a fierce shot from Jordan Parkes around the post.

A brilliant Francomb cross, whipped in from the right, somehow evaded the diving Kabba in the centre and Fuller made a timely clearance at the far post to deny Marshall a chance.

In the 58th minute Spiller touched a ball on for Lee, he got forward before laying it off for Palmer who fired well over.

A minute later though the Gills equalised. Akinfenwa controlled a pass on the edge of the area before laying it off to the on-rushing Whelpdale who smashed a shot goalwards which somehow went through Cole and into the net. The huge Gills contingent of 1206 went mad.

Spiller almost added a second, his shot being deflected wide before Sinclair went into the book for a heavy challenge on Mark Hughes in the 63rd minute.

Another 60 seconds later the Gills went ahead. Lee, again impressive in midfield, nicked the ball off the toes of Marshall just in his own-half. He ran at the Bees defence and just as he reached the area tucked a low shot wide of Cole and into the corner of the net. If they had gone mad before I think this time the travelling supporters, who made up almost half of the crowd, must have thought they were in dreamland.

Barnet manager Mark Stimson made his first change in the 67th minute with Izale McLeod replacing Gallen.

A nice piece of control and snap-shot by McDonald almost saw the Gills add a third but Cole got down well to his right to save.

Both sides made a change in the 76th minute, Bruce Inkango took the place of Palmer for the Gills while Ricky Holmes replaced Hughes for the home side.

Holmes only lasted nine minutes as he had to limp off to be replaced by Mauro Vilhete.

The home side pressed looking for an equaliser but Sinclair blocked one effort and McDonald trekked back to made a great clearing tackle. When they had the ball though the Gills did look to retain possession.

Four minutes were added on but it wasn't enough to stop the Gills recording a second away win on the trot and a crucial six points out of six.

The result saw the Gills leap up to 16th in the table.

Gillingham: Julian, Fuller, Lawrence, Sinclair, Kennedy (Nutter 45), Whelpdale, Lee, Maher (Spiller H/T), Palmer (Inkango 75), McDonald, Akinfenwa.

Subs: Cronin, S.Payne, Jackman, Rooney

Barnet: Cole, Devera, Uddin, Basey, Parkes, Francomb, Hughes (Holmes 76, Vilhete 85), Southam, Marshall, Kabba, Gallen (McLeod 67).

Subs: Coulton, Stimson, Cox, Jarvis

Barnet Match Officials
Referee: Danny McDermid
Assistants: Rob MacKay and Tony Mason
Fourth Official: David Bushell


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