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17:47 15th January 2011

Danny Jackman holds off the Cobblers


Cody McDonald's 12th goal of the season proved just enough for the Gills to deservedly claim all three points from a hard-fought 90+ minutes against Northampton.

The victory, a seventh in eight games, saw Andy Hessenthaler's battling side return to seventh in the League Two table, the final play-off position, and hopefully end his worries about the manager-of-the-month curse.

The game was played in very windy conditions which was never going to be conducive to any free-flowing football especially against a big, physical side like the Cobblers. On day's like this I think it's fair to say that it was the result that counted more than anything.

Boss Hessenthaler named the same team and formation that had won so convincingly at Stockport last weekend, Andy Barcham and Curtis Weston supplementing lone striker Cody McDonald. Adebayo Akinfenwa and Jack Payne were additions on the bench.

In the third minute Weston had a great chance to open the scoring, he ran onto a John Nutter pass but saw his low shot parried by keeper Chris Dunn.

Chances in the early exchanges were limited, Town's Michael Jacobs curled a free-kick straight at Alan Julian then in the 14th minute former Northampton favourite, who had received a disappointing reception from some of the 267 travelling supporters, curled a free-kick just over the top.

The visitors tried to respond but both Nat Wedderburn and Jacobs fired efforts into the Rainham End.

A punt upfield from Julian led to the next Gills effort in the 27th minute, McDonald robbed Liam Davis and charged towards goal but his left-foot strike flew the wrong side of the post.

Two minutes later Danny Spiller sent McDonald away down the right, this time his low right-foot shot was parried by Dunn and Ben Tozer tidied up before Weston could pounce on the loose ball.

Ryan Gilligan became the first booking of the afternoon on the half-hour for a challenge from behind on Barcham .

The Gills made the breakthrough from the resultant free-kick. Matt Lawrence touched the ball to Nutter who launched the ball forward, Spiller helped the ball on and Josh Gowling nodded the ball down perfectly for the in-form McDonald to crack home an angled shot across Dunn and into the far side of the net.

McDonald headed over the top and skipper Barry Fuller cracked a left-foot effort high over the bar as the Gills looked to quickly add a second.

H/T: 1 - 0

The first clear-cut chance of the second-half came in the 58th minute, a Spiller pass put McDonald away his attempted lob beat Dunn as he looked to narrow the angle but dropped the wrong side of the bar.

A minute later the first substitution took place with Akinfenwa replacing Weston, then moments later Greg Kaziboni was introduced by Town boss Ian Sampson, he came on for Courtney Herbert.

Shortly afterwards a woeful rising shot from Wedderburn found its way sailing down Gordon Road.

In the 69th minute a neat touch from Akinfenwa saw McDonald challenging Tozer for a through ball, the Gills forward seemed to get past him but the on-loan Newcastle defender went down and referee Trevor Kettle enraged many by blowing for a foul. Mind you McDonald's toe-poke came back off the post anyway.

Both Mark Bentley and Luke Rooney were brought on in place of Jackman and Barcham and it was the latter who livened things up.

First Rooney beat two defenders and laid the ball back for McDonald, his shot and Kevin Maher's follow-up were blocked and Spiller's header found it's way into Dunn's hands.

Then after Jacobs had seen his effort saved at one end, Rooney had a fierce low drive turned aside by the overworked Dunn.

A marauding, jinking run from Fuller was brought to an end by substitute Marcus Hall who sent him crashing to the turf and became the second recipient of a yellow card.

Despite four minutes of time being added-on, the Gillingham defence, well marshalled once again by both Lawrence and Gowling, remained untroubled and were able to record a fourth clean-sheet in the last eight games.

: 5,613 (267 Northampton fans)

Gillingham: Julian, Fuller, Gowling, Lawrence, Nutter, Weston (Akinfenwa 59), Spiller, Maher, Jackman (Bentley 71), Barcham (Rooney 75), McDonald.Unused subs: Cronin, Richards, J.Payne, S.Payne,

Northampton Town: Dunn, Beckwith, Tozer, Johnson, Gilligan, Davis, Holt, Osman, Wedderburn (Hall 74), Jacobs, Herbert (Kaziboni 61).Subs: Gherasim, , Hinton, Rodgers, Farquharson, Harris

Referee: Trevor Kettle
Assistants: Carl Brook & Wade Norcott
Fourth Official: Stephen Child


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