Skip to main content


18:21 30th April 2011

Cody McDonald breaks through on goal


Following on from last weekend's dismal performance against Barnet the Gills came out second best against another of the League Two strugglers at Priestfield Stadium.

What used to be 'Fortress Priestfield' has suddenly become a place where the visitors come and play with no fear and Macclesfield certainly did that. Gillingham have now only won one of their last five at home.

They scored four and only a couple of fine saves from Alan Julian denied them a bigger margin of victory as strikers Tyrone Barnett and Emile Sinclair ran the Gills rearguard ragged.

Its certainly not all over in the hunt for a play-off place though with three sides,Stevenage, Torquay United and the Gills still fighting for two play-off places and none face easy games next weekend and there are still a number of permutations. But more about that later.

Gillingham manager Andy Hessenthaler went with the same starting XI that had won at Rotherham on Easter Monday but unfortunately things didn't go the same way.

The home side got off to a bright start, first Danny Jackman was inches away from getting on the end of a Cody McDonald cross then McDonald himself dragged a shot across the face of goal.

Macclesfield, who required a point to ensure their own safety in League Two, took a fourth minute lead and never looked back.

Skipper Garry Richards' back-pass which was aimed at Alan Julian, hi central defensive partner Simon King and fell perfectly for Ross Draper to gleefully smash the ball home.

Worse was to follow just three minutes later, Emile Sinclair went past a stumbling Richards and left him trailing and even though his low cross didn't find his initial target, Colin Daniel was coming in behind and placed a shot beyond Julian.

Ten minutes later Town went three up, this time the Gillingham rearguard allowed Daniel to cut in from the right, going unchallenged as he eased into the area, before burying a shot that flew in via Julian's right-hand post.

The biggest crowd of the season here at Priestfield were simply stunned.

Gillingham's cause wasn't helped when they had to make a substitution in the 27th minute, Barcham, who had been struggling pre-match with a groin problem, was forced off with Luke Rooney replacing him.

The Gills did look to hit back, a low Joe Martin strike went flying across the face of goal then just on the half-hour mark came two further chances. A defensive slip by Shaun Brisley sent McDonald clear but the leading striker poked his shot over the top then moments later a low long-range strike from Rooney forced Jose Veiga into a low save.

Macclesfield responded with a Dan Gray pass finding Tyrone Barnet and his neat back-heel found Sinclair. His curling shot was spectacularly kept out by Julian who had to recover quickly to keep out Barnett's downward header which was directed towards the bottom corner.

The Gills pulled a goal back in the 43rd minute, Martin created space on the left and crossed right-footed to the far post, Mark Bentley nodded the ball back across goal for Danny Jackman to volley left-footed past Veiga. It was the midfielders first Gillingham goal since March 2007.

In the closing stages of the half both Rooney and Jackman put low efforts wide but the Gills were once again indebted to Julian for another fine save in keeping out Barnett's fierce strike.

H/T: 1 - 3

Barry Fuller was brought on at half-time taking over from King but his game lasted just 10 minutes as a heavy challenge from Tony Diagne, who was surprisingly only booked, saw him stretchered off and replaced by Matt Lawrence.

By that time though the Silkmen had already gone 4 - 1 up. Silkmen's Sinclair chased a long ball out of defence from Nat Brown, went between the Gills new central pairing, namesake Sinclair and Richards, before delicately lobbing the exposed Julian. Striker Sinclair was booked for taking his shirt off in celebration.

McDonald, who was teed up by Rooney, saw a low strike saved by Veiga before at the other end Sinclair eased himself through once again but his shot was well saved by Julian

Just before the hour the Gills went close again. Bentley clipped the ball into McDonald, his first touch took him wide of the keeper but when he fired goalwards, Draper was there to clear off the line.

Daniel was booked for a foul on Martin and Barnett received a lengthy lecture from referee Chris Sarginson following a confrontation with Tony Sinclair.

Hamza Bencheriff was next to test Julian and Daniel fired over before Rooney cut between two defenders but his shot flew into the Rainham End crowd.

Gillingham gave their supporters a glimmer of hope by reducing the arrears in the 71st minute. A Kevin Maher corner was headed back to him by Tony Sinclair, although he didn't mean to, and the midfielder's low drive looked goalbound until Draper stuck out a boot to block. Maher again knocked the ball back in, Sinclair touched it off to Martin who was able to volley home and register his first goal for the club.

In the 78th minute Lawrence picked up another booking for a crude challenge on the marauding Barnett and after ten minutes of huffing and puffing with neither side creating a clear-cut opportunity Jackman was harshly yellow carded for a trip on Izak Reid

Seven minutes of time were added on but the closest the Gills came was a header from Lawrence that cleared the bar.

So going into next weekend the three teams looking for a play-off place all start on 68 points. While the Gills travel to leaders Chesterfield, Stevenage entertain second-place Bury and Torquay travel to play Rotherham at the Don Valley Stadium. So it literally is all going down to the wire.

Gillingham: Julian, Sincalir, Richards, King (Fuller H/T - Lawrence 55), Martin, Bentley, Maher, Jackman, Barcham (Rooney 27), McDonald, Akinfenwa

Unused subs: Cronin, Nutter, J.Payne, Spiller

Macclesfield Town: Veiga, Reid, Bencherif, Brown, Draper, Sinclair (Tremarco 77), Daniel (Roberts 90+5), Diagne, Brisley, Gray, Barnett

Unused subs: Cudworth, Chalmers, Wedgbury, Hamshaw, Sappleton

Attendance: 6,841 (65 Macclesfield)

Referee: Chris Sarginson
Assistants: Andrew Laver and Gavin Muge
Fourth Officials: David Rock


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