Skip to main content


18:11 2nd April 2011

Luke Rooney takes on the Bulls defence


The Gills were held to a disappointing goalless draw by a workmanlike Hereford United for the second time this season.

It was a stop-start 90+ minutes at Priestfield Stadium with over-fussy referee Paul Tierney unfortunately taking most of the headlines having booked eight players and sent Gills assistant manager Ian Hendon and Bulls coach Dave Kevan to the stands.

He obviously thought that the Gills biggest home league crowd of the campaign had come to watch him.

With the other six sides in the top seven all winning, the out-of-sorts Gills slipped a place to seventh in the League Two table and can be overhauled by Accrington Stanley if they win their game in hand against Southend on Tuesday.

Of course all is not lost as there are still a number of big clashes between the top ten or so sides to come before the season ends.

Boss Andy Hessenthaler went with the same side that had started last weeks win at Cheltenham, the only change was on the bench where youth team goalkeeper Daren Hawkes replaced Lance Cronin.

After starting slowly in recent weeks, the Gills must have been working on the problem as they had two great chances in the opening two minutes.

First a Kevin Maher free-kick was an inch away from a lunging Cody McDonald, then a long Maher ball out of defence saw the Gills leading goalscorer go clear but although his lob sailed over Adam Bartlett it dropped the wrong side of the keepers left-hand post.

The Gills lost striker Adebayo Akinfenwa in the ninth minute as he sprinted down the tunnel, presumably requiring stitches to a cut on his head, he returned to action over six minutes later.

In the 18th minute a neat build up involving Maher, Akinfenwa and Barcham saw Jack Payne fire a shot narrowly wide.

The visitors didn't offer very much in terms of an attacking threat, the first real shot coming in the 23rd minute from Nicky Featherstone which bounced wide then Steve Leslie fired high onto the Town End.

Gillingham went close again in the 28th minute from a long throw from Jack Payne. A clutch of players including Garry Richards and Akinfenwa rose at the near post and it come off something, from someone, forcing a fine reactionary save from Bartlett.

A word or two out of turn from Leslie directed at referee Paul Tierney saw him become the first booking of the afternoon in the 32nd minute.

A great run by McDonald, chasing a Richards ball, saw him leave Stefan Stam grounded. He picked out the onrushing Akinfenwa but the big forward failed to get a telling touch.

It looked initially as if Matt Lawrence was about to receive his costly tenth booking in the 38th minute as James McQuilkin went to ground under the defenders challenge but the referee gave it to the Hereford player for simulation.

Just before the half-time whistle Stam crumpled to a heap with Richards in close attention. Nobody seemed to see anything, most of all the linesman who was looking across the line or the referee. However after checking on Stam, Richards was booked - to say the Rainham End were unhappy is an understatement.

At the break there seemed to be a line of management from both sides waiting to speak to Mr Tierney following a number of baffling decisions. Presumably the Bulls coach David Kevan did have his say and was made to watch the second-half from the Medway Stand as a result.

H/T: 0 - 0

Half-time scores elsewhere in League Two and a slow start by the Gills left the crowd somewhat restless at the start of the second-half. In fact the only shot in the first five minutes or so after the interval flew wide from Leslie.

There was a major let-off for the Gills in the 57th minute, Stuart Fleetwood gave Richards the slip wide left, but after closing in on goal his low shot was smothered by Julian.

At the other end Akinfenwa rose to meet a Maher corner but couldn't keep his header down.

In the 62nd minute Gillingham assistant manager Ian Hendon was also sent from the dugout by the over-fussy referee for debating another decision which left McDonald grounded clutching his face and left him a large egg size lump under his left eye.

It was also apparent that the Bulls were time-wasting at every opportunity, free-kicks, goal-kicks, substitutes, the lot and seemingly looked happy to take a point.

They were creating little with Lawrence defending brilliantly alongside a strangely out-of-sorts Richards.

In the 66th minute Dennis Oli replaced Maher and took a place on the right with Weston moving into a central midfield role.

After substitute Rob Purdie was booked for clattering Julian, Danny Spiller replaced Payne and Luke Rooney took over from Barcham as the attacking options that had worked so well late on last Sunday, were again introduced.

Weston and Rooney were the next to receive a yellow cards in the 77th minute and 82nd minute respectively, Weston was adjudged to have handled while Rooney aggressively disputed a foul.

Stam was booked for kicking the ball away before the Gills went close to a winner in the 89th minute, the lively Rooney clipped a ball into the middle but once again a stretching Akinfenwa could only head onto the roof of the net.

Surprisingly only four minutes of added time were shown and McDonald became the eighth, and final, recipient of a yellow card for continuing with a shot following a whistle.

The Gills almost stole it right at the end, Rooney set up Akinfenwa on the edge of the area but despite aiming a precise side-footed effort towards the bottom corner Bartlett scrambled across to touch it round the post.

The crowd, all four sides of it, certainly made their feelings toward the referee show at the final whistle as boss Hessenthaler was quick to point out following his own rant at the official.

Attendance: 5709 (128 Hereford)

Gillingham: Julian, Fuller, Richards, Lawrence, Martin, Weston, J.Payne (Spiller73), Maher (Oli 66), Barcham (Rooney 76), McDonald, Akinfenwa.

Unused subs: Hawkes, Gowling, Nutter, S.Payne.

Hereford United: Bartlett, Green, Townsend, Stam, Heath, Colbeck (Purdie 69), McQuilkin, Lunt, Fleetwood (Price 90), Featherstone, Leslie.

Unused subs: Stratford, Hoult, Kovacs, Patulea, Rose.

Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistants: Lee Betts and Lee Collins
Fourth Official: Michael Bull


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