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19:00 21st August 2010

Tony Sinclair in action against Lincoln


A crescendo of boos rang out around Priestfield Stadium at the final whistle as the Gills slipped to a depressing home defeat.

Maybe the jeers were a little unwarranted, this is only the third game of the season but once Lincoln had scored after just nine minutes it was always going to be an uphill struggle. Once ahead, the team who'd arrived bottom of the table proceeded to park the proverbial bus in front of their goal and played mainly on the break.

Unfortunately as much as the home side huffed and puffed they couldn't find a way past Joe Anyon in the City goal. On the one occasion he was beaten, the post denied Bayo Akinfenwa.

Gills manager Andy Hessenthaler went with the same starting XI that started at Hereford last weekend but they were able to add Curtis Weston to the list of substitutes.

For Lincoln, boss Chris Sutton made five changes to his starting line-up with ex-Gills Albert Jarrett and Delroy Facey initially playing either side of new striker Ben Hutchinson who arrived from Celtic during the week.

In a fairly quiet opening the only chance saw a Kevin Maher throw lead to a Akinfenwa goal-ward prod which was blocked by defender Adam Watts. The Imps scored with their first real threat on goal in the ninth minute. Jarrett struck a fierce effort from around 20 yards which Alan Julian was only able to beat out. Unfortunately the ball fell perfectly for Cian Hughton to fire into the far corner. Not long afterwards the visitors had what looked like justifiable penalty appeals turned down by referee Brendan Malone when Hutchinson seemed to be pulled down by Matt Lawrence.

The visitors were quick close things up, changing to a more defensive 4-4-1-1, with Facey going wide left of midfield and Jarrett slotting in behind lone striker Hutchinson.

Tony Sinclair picked up his second booking of the campaign for an aerial challenge on Jarrett that the referee deemed too physical. Danny Spiller soon followed the defender into the referee's notebook for a sliding challenge on Joe Anderson.

The Gills forced a number of corners as they went in search of an equaliser but the frustration in the crowd grew as each came to nothing. The only real attempt came in the 38th minute when Akinfenwa hit a shot on the turn, alas it was way off target.

A sign of things to come saw the visitors Hutchinson receive a yellow card for time-wasting in the 41st minute after he refused to release the ball to Josh Gowling.

H/T: 0 - 1

The Gills had some early sights of goal after the break, Spiller put a low effort straight at Joe Anyon, Chris Palmer had a shot blocked and Akinfenwa worked the room only to shoot at the keeper.

At the other end Facey rose well to meet a Hughton cross from the right but his header was straight at Julian.

The Gills best chance of the match so far came in the 53rd minute. Palmer's left-wing corner was met by the unmarked Sinclair but the defenders stooping header crept just wide of the post. Spiller went down as he looked to burst between veteran defender Ian Pearce and Anderson and there were appeals for a penalty waved away by Mr Malone. If the official thought the midfielder had dived then maybe he was lucky not to receive a second yellow.

There was a lucky escape for the Gills in the 58th minute, Facey was put clean through to the left of goal but only managed to send his shot up towards the 178 travelling fans. He really should have done better.

By the hour mark the Gillingham boss had used all three of his substitutions, replacing three of his starting midfield. Curtis Weston came on in the 50th minute to replace Maher and he was followed by Stefan Payne and Luke Rooney for Palmer and Bentley.

With 61 minutes on the clock Jarrett was added to the referees notebook for a foul on Weston and from the dangerous Spiller free-kick that followed Hutchinson was forced to dive and head clear. Moments later Gowling had a goalbound header blocked on the line and scrambled clear by Watts from Spiller's flag-kick.

John Nutter curled a ball into the side-netting that almost caught out Anyon at his near post and Payne headed a Nutter cross just wide. Rooney stung the keepers hands with a neat strike in the 76th minute and three minutes later forced Anyon into a great one-handed save with a cracking effort.

In rare sortie's towards the Gillingham goal, Hutchinson fired one shot wide and another shot on the turn straight at Julian.

Jamie Clapham got his name added to the list of yellow cards before Akinfenwa almost repeated his late heroics from the Cheltenham game. He took a Spiller free-kick down, turned and fired a shot across the keeper only to see the ball hit the far post and rebound into the thankful arms of Anyon.

Four minutes were added on but most of it was spent with the visitors killing time in the corner and it was the Imps that almost scored again. Sinclair, Julian and substitute Drewe Broughton all chased a ball forward and somehow it was Broughton who managed to get in a header and the ball rolled goalwards. Thankfully Sinclair was able to get back and hook clear but it wouldn't have mattered as the referee blew for full-time before the Gills could get forward again.

Gillingham: Julian, Lawrence, Gowling, Sinclair, Nutter, Maher (Weston 50), Bentley (S Payne 59), Spiller, Palmer (Rooney 59), Barcham, Akinfenwa. Unused Subs: Southall, White, Essam, Cronin.

Lincoln City: Anyon, Green, Anderson, Watts, Keltie, Pearce, Jarrett (A Hutchinson 80), Facey, Clapham, Hughton, B Hutchinson.

Subs: Broughton, O'Keefe, Swaibu, Musselwhite. Att: 4,838

Referee: BJ Malone
Assistants: CJ Berry & HW Lennard
Fourth Official: SJ Long


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