We look ahead to Tuesday's League Two fixtureROCHDALE v GILLINGHAM
npower League Two
Tuesday March 19 2013
Martin Allen made four changes to his team at Morecambe on Saturday and further changes are likely at Spotland tomorrow night. Adam Birchall, Danny East and Steven Gregory were not involved in the team’s weekend draw and all three are likely to come back into contention.
For the home side right-back Rhys Bennet lasted just six minutes of Saturday’s game having damaged a knee which could rule him out for the remainder of the season. Striker Terry Gornell (groin) remains on the sidelines but midfielder Ritchie Jones (ankle) may come back into contention for the Gills visit.
THE SEASON SO FAR…
Following the weekend’s trip to Bristol Rovers which ended in a 2-1 defeat, Keith Hills’ side were lying 17th in the League Two table having picked up 46 points (12 wins and 10 draws) from their 38 games.
According to reports Rochdale returned home pointless despite a spirited display at the Memorial Ground. On loan substitute Michael Rose netted a 25-yard cracker against the Pirates to level matters but they were beaten by a close range finish six minutes from time.
Speaking after the loss boss Hill said "We created some great opportunities, which I am pleased about, but failed to take them.
"George Donnelly could easily be going home with the match ball for a hat-trick. Instead we are reflecting on a game we should never have lost.
"If you can't win a game you have to draw it. We made some poor decisions after getting the equaliser and I was looking for some leadership out there."
Previously at home Rochdale have won six and drawn five of their 18 games, Accrington (3-0), AFC Wimbledon (1-0), Burton (1-0), Exeter (3-2), Morecambe (2-1), Rotherham (2-1) and York (3-2) have previously returned home from Spotland with all three points.
Ace midfielder Bradley Dack took his season’s tally to two with the equaliser at Morecambe on Saturday. There was no change at the top of the Gills list where you find Danny Kedwell (12) and Deon Burton (11).
Former Scunthorpe United striker Robert Grant is ‘Dale’s leading scorer this season with 13 goals to his name with Ashley Grimes (10), Andrew Tutte (8), George Donnelly and Terry Gornell (both five) next on the list.
THE LAST TEN GAMES…
Over the last ten games Martin Allen’s Gills have picked up 16 points while Rochdale have taken 10 points
EARLIER THIS SEASON…
Back on September 29 the Gills unbeaten start to their League Two campaign was ended as a workmanlike Rochdale won 2-1 here at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
Goals from Andrew Tutte (15 mins) and Robert Grant (59 mins) came either side of Danny Jackman’s harsh-looking 33rd minute dismissal for a challenge on skipper Tutte before Danny Kedwell set up a tense finale with a penalty 16 minutes from time.
Referee David Phillips pointed to the spot when Chris Whelpdale seemed to be pushed by George Donnelly and the Gills leading scorer calmly did the rest from the spot – sending Josh Lillis the wrong way.
Gills – Nelson, Fish, Martin, Flanagan, Whelpdale, Jackman, Montrose (Allen H/T), Burton (Kedwell H/T), Barrett, Wright, Findley (Weston 34). Unused subs: Strevens, Frampton, Davies, Forecast.
Rochdale – Lillis, Rafferty, Bennett, R.Edwards, Kennedy, Tutte, Donnelly, P.Edwards. Adebola (Putterill 77), Pearson, Grant. Unused subs: Barry-Murphy, Grimes, Curran, Craney, Byrne, Smith.
Tuesday night will be the 38th meeting between the two clubs with the Gills having previously won 11 and drawn 13 of those fixtures.
The opening four of these games came in the FA Cup with first coming in January 1915 which ended in a 2-0 away defeat against the then Lancashire Combination outfit.
The first league encounters took place in Division Four during the 1959-60 season, both games taking place in the opening three weeks of the campaign. The first of these ended in a 1-0 away defeat for the Gills on August 27 but a week later Sammy Moore and Ronnie Bacon were on target in a 2-0 home win.
Our last visit to Spotland was in May 2009 for the League Two play-off semi-final which had ended goalless, this came just days after Curtis Weston had notched the winner there on the final day of the regular season.
Referee - Mark Haywood
Assistants - Darren Handley & Robert Jones
Fourth Official - Gary Hilton
This will be Mark’s second game involving Gillingham this season having refereed the 4-0 home victory over Aldershot back in October.
The official, from West Yorkshire, who was in charge of the Championship fixture at Blackpool on Saturday , has refereed 32 games during 2012-13 issuing 79 yellow and two red cards.