Stuart Nelson reveals his delight at returning to first team action as he scores the winning penalty on his 100th appearance to help Gills progress in JPT
Gillingham goalkeeper Stuart Nelson reflected on what he described as `a special night` following the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win over Colchester at Weston Homes Community Stadium on Tuesday.
The keeper was making his long awaited return from a thumb injury sustained in the opening day defeat to MK Dons, and Nelson proved to be the hero after saving two penalties in the shootout before scoring the decisive spot kick himself to clinch victory.
It was also Stuart’s 100th appearance for the Football Club, and he summed up his emotions following the final whistle as the Gills won 4-2 on penalties following a 3-3 draw in normal time.
He said: “There are a lot of things that are important to me, winning the game is important but to turn out 100 times for a great club like Gillingham is fantastic.
"I’ve had a great time here and I’ve always had the backing of the fans, they have been different class and it’s special for me making 100 games.
“It’s Johnstone’s Paint but it’s still 100 times turning out in the club shirt. I wanted to get through the warm up as I needed the ref to blow the whistle to make the 100!
“That was magic for me, kind of special.”
Stuart admitted he was more than eager to take a penalty during the shootout, however he was unaware he had won the game having been chosen as the fourth taker.
He added: “I had to nip in for the loo, came back out thinking I’ll lose my place and I want to put my name forward. I came out, they were sorting out names and I just put it out there that I wanted to take one.
“Then it’s down to the Manager, he put me in and I think I was meant to be the fifth penalty taker but the boys said take it so I wasn’t going to turn that down.
“I didn’t know it was the winning penalty because I had been moved forward!
“I back myself on penalties, not always to save them, but to go in the right way. The one during the game I went the wrong way so I was disappointed and the first one in the shootout I went the wrong way.
“I got my bearings and then made the saves, it was a good finish but the team dug in to get us to penalties.”