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22:04 28th September 2010

Bruce Inkango takes on Bilel Mohsni


The Gills made it four points out of a possible six from consecutive home games with a goalless draw against Paul Sturrock's Southend United.

A plus point was certainly a second clean sheet for Gills keeper Lance Cronin.

Both teams had chances throughout the 90+ minutes but the Gills certainly had the better ones overall forcing Shrimpers keeper Glenn Morris into some decent saves, that said though the Essex side probably had the better of the possession.

Gillingham manager Andy Hessenthaler made just one change from the side that scraped a win against Burton on Saturday with French winger Bruce Inkango coming in for his full debut in place of Mark Bentley who dropped to the bench. There was one other change on the list of substitutes with Stanley Aborah replacing Mark McCammon.

There was a familiar face in the Southend line-up with ex-Gill Sean Clohessy at right-back.

The first chance of the match fell literally to Cody McDonald. A long throw from Jack Payne was glanced on at the near post and Saturday's match-winner McDonald's overhead kick forced Glenn Morris to clutch low down to his right on the line.

Moments later Inkango stole in but headed wide following a Chris Palmer throw from the left.

The Gills had a let-off in the 11th minute when a low, driven free-kick deflected off Curtis Weston and looked as if it dropped perfectly to Barry Corr but perhaps he didn't realise how much time he actually had and stabbed his effort wide.

Having started slowly, the Essex side gradually got a grip and got their neat, passing game going. Then they began to create chances too with Clohessy a dangerous outlet.

In the 14th minute Anthony Grant drilled a low shot straight at Cronin, it was a wonder the midfielder managed to pick out the Gills keeper in his new all fluorescent orange kit.

Southend should have gone ahead in the 20th minute when Blair Sturrock crossed from the right but the unmarked Louie Soares failed to untangle his feet and the ball passed him by just six yards out.

Bilel Mohsni then proved why he is a central defender and not a striker when his attempted long-range shot from around 35-yards flew high into the Rainham End.

Soares volleyed the next chance wide from the edge of the area after another decent cross from Clohessy was deflected out to him.

In the 37th minute a great reverse pass from Sturrock sent Josh Simpson galloping away on goal but when composure was called for, the midfielder fired high and wide from 18-yards.

Having hardly been in the game for a long period, the Gills ended the half on the front foot. Both Payne and Weston were denied by last-ditch blocks while Inkango cut inside onto an Akinfenwa pass but sent a right-foot screamer just inches over the top.

H/T: 0-0

The second-half began with Corr firing a shot at Cronin within 30 seconds of the re-start, hopefully this was not a sign of things to come but then, within a minute Simpson had also seen an effort saved.

Hessenthaler's men then enjoyed a bit of a purple patch with McDonald twice going close. On 51 minutes, a neat Gills move down the right ended with the on-loan Norwich striker volleying an Akinfenwa lay-off just over. Then McDonald dragged a left-foot shot across the face of Morris but unfortunately the far post too.

An error by Soares then allowed Inkango space but his low strike was deflected safely through to the Shrimpers keeper.

The Gills fans hadn't had too much to cheer on the night but they were impressed by some ball skills from manager Hessenthaler just in front of the dugout.

In the 63rd minute another Clohessy ball in from the right was guided straight at Cronin by the head of Sturrock.

Akinfenwa hit a shot at Morris from the edge of the area following neat touches from Payne and McDonald then shortly afterwards it was McDonald again who cut in from the left but saw his shot deflect wide off Chris Barker. The United skipper then headed clear another dangerous low ball into the near post.

Payne received the first yellow card of the night in the 67th minute for a foul on Grant.

Both managers made changes a minute later with Luke Rooney replacing Inkango for the Gills and United's Ryan Hall coming on for Sturrock.

In the 70th minute Akinfenwa again went close when good work from substitute Rooney set him up but his shot on the turn hit the stanchion behind the goal.

Spiller was then booked for another foul on Grant.

A neat piece of skill by Weston opened up the visitors defence but keeper Morris denied him from close range then a 25-yard low strike from Palmer was turned round the post by the United keeper.

Grant was replaced soon afterwards by Nathaniel Jarvis and almost immediately the on-loan Cardiff striker fired an angled effort over the top.

The next chance fell to Jarvis too but Cronin was out quickly to block his shot.

Southend striker Corr then went into the referee's notebook for a challenge on Gills captain Barry Fuller.

In the four minutes of stoppage time added on it was the Essex side that were most dangerous with Corr twice getting free. The first chance saw Jarvis nod the ball on for his team-mate who dragged his effort wide across the face of goal. His second, a decent right-foot curling effort ,must have been fairly close as it forced Cronin to scramble across and watch as it just missed his left-hand post.

I think the silence from a majority of both sets of fans at the final whistle summed up the crowds feelings. They didn't really know whether to boo or cheer.

Gills - Cronin, Fuller (c), Palmer, Lawrence, Gowling, Spiller, Weston, J Payne, Inkango (Rooney 68), McDonald, Akinfenwa.

Subs: Julian, Maher, Bentley, S Payne, Sinclair, Aborah

United - Morris, Clohessy, Gilbert, Simpson, Mohsni, Grant (Jarvis 75), Corr, Soares, Timlin, Sturrock (Hall 68), Barker (c)

Subs: Coughlan, Prosser, Herd, Crawford, Evans.

Att: 4,925 (462 Southend fans)

Referee: Danny McDermid
Assistants: Gary Jerden and John O'Brien
Fourth Official: Stuart Butler


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