Read the Chairman's notes from the Bristol City Capital One Cup First Round programmeGood evening Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls and welcome back to MEMS Priestfield Stadium for our first fixture in this season’s Capital One Cup. I would also like to extend a warm welcome to the directors, coaching staff, players and all the supporters that have made the trip east from Bristol and wish them a safe and speedy journey home tonight. Ironically our two teams last met 12 months ago at Ashton Gate, at the same stage of the competition, where goals from Danny Kedwell and Ben Strevens earned Martin Allen his first competitive win as Gillingham manager. I’m sure Sean O’Driscoll and his players will be keen to avenge that defeat this evening and we will need to be at the top of our game if we are to progress in the tournament this year.
Saturday’s 1-0 loss against Colchester was a cruel way to start life in League One, with the visitors claiming the points courtesy of an 89th minute goal, when the game had seemed destined for a draw. That said I was more than satisfied with the effort, commitment and work rate from our team and felt that on the day we did more than enough to warrant a point from the game, if not all three. We created plenty of chances to score and had Danny Kedwell’s superb first-half effort bounced in off the bar then, not only would it have deserved to seal the points, but arguably would be a sure bet for the goal of the season award as well.
Obviously it was a big blow for us to lose Matt Fish so early in the game with a knee injury and I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing him a speedy recovery. Matt had an outstanding season for the club last year and he has a big part to play again this season and it is testament to the excellent injury prevention work that Martin and his staff have put in place that injuries are such a rarity amongst our players these days. I’m sure all our supporters would also join me in congratulating young right-back Stephen Butcher who put in a mature and thoroughly professional performance after coming on to replace Fishy. It is always satisfying to see another of our Academy graduates break through into the first team and congratulations are also in order for Darren Hare, Mark Patterson, Bryan Bull and our academy coaches whose hard work and dedication to developing our youngsters looks to have produced another gem.
Thanks also to our supporters who gave the players tremendous support from first kick to final whistle on Saturday. We know that things might not always go our way in League One, as we adjust to a higher level of opposition, but if we all pull together we will get the rewards we deserve. Enjoy the match.
Up The Gills
Paul D.P. Scally