Alex MacDonald delighted to have netted his first goal for the Gills at the Stadium of Light.
“Anyone watching the game today would have seen what a good Gillingham team this is,” said Alex MacDonald, who scored his first goal for the Gills on an afternoon of drama at The Stadium of Light on Saturday.
When all seemed lost, a spirited-Gillingham side yet again proved that it is not over until it’s over. Jordan Graham’s 90th minute last-gasp strike brought the Gills level against Sky Bet League One giants Sunderland in yet another encounter with The Black Cats which will live long in the memory.
The Gills had fallen behind early after Aiden McGeady’s shot took a wicked deflection to beat a hapless Jack Bonham. Alex MacDonald deservedly levelled with a rocket from outside the box to make it 1-1.
MacDonald was then unlucky to see a powerful effort ricochet off the underside of the bar. Gills keeper Bonham made a fantastic save to deny a contentious penalty, but couldn’t stop the rebound as Sunderland went ahead 2-1. Vadaine Oliver struck a post as the Gills continued to pile on the pressure, but it looked like the game was slipping away. Graham’s late heroics made it 2-2 right at the death; in truth, a draw was the very least the visitors deserved.
MacDonald, speaking to the press after the match, said: “We’ve come to a huge club and dominated for most of the game. When you score late to salvage something out of the game you are always going to be happy, but when we sit back and look at it, I think it is a game we could have, and should, taken all three points.
“At half time we went in 2-1 down but we were by miles the better team. I thought we played on the front foot.
“It was pleasing to score. I was gutted to not be in the starting line-up last game but that is just part and parcel of it. It was touch and go with Tommy (O’Connor) today and the manager chucked me in. I was delighted to start the game and more importantly I was delighted to help the team get a good result. It was nice to get my first one of the season and what a place to get it.”
MacDonald came close to putting the Gills ahead with the score locked at 1-1. His riffled shot looked goalbound but the slightest touch from Black Cat’s stopper Lee Burge saw it rebound back off the crossbar and agonisingly bounce back into play.
MacDonald said: “I hit the ball nice and sweet and it came back from the underside of the crossbar. At that time we were massively dominant and if we had gone in 2-1 ahead it would have been a different outcome in the second half. When I caught the ball really nicely with my left foot, I thought it was going to nestle in; on another day that could have gone in and changed the outcome of the game.
“When Jordan equalised at the end, it was a massive sigh of relief because we knew we had done so well in the game; we felt we deserved all three points.
“What we have been crying out all year for is consistency. We’re starting to find that consistency and we are now unbeaten in four. We are taking all the positives from that into what will be a massive game next Friday (Lincoln City at MEMS Priestfield Stadium).
“Games don’t come much better then when they are live on television on Sky. We are coming up against a former manager of mine (Michael Appleton) and a fantastic team who have done brilliant so far this year. It’s going to be our hardest test this season. They are playing some fantastic stuff, but we will be prepared.
“Fingers crossed that we can now put on an unbeaten run and have a good late surge for what could be an exciting end of season for the Gills.”