Elkan Baggott delighted as last gasp winner sends Gills through to play Leicester in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup.
Gillingham’s televised FA Cup second round replay with Dagenham & Redbridge had everything: bruises, guts and glory.
It was a battling performance to be proud of and after the nerve-racking 3-2 victory warhorse defender Elkan Baggott revealed that the team’s drive was the prospect of meeting Leicester in the next round.
The Indonesian international was a pre-match doubt after being substituted in the league at the weekend, but that didn’t stop him muscling his way through a packed area to head home Gillingham’s first goal in a thrilling contest that will live long in the memory.
“The objective that we kept drilling into ourselves,” said the defender, “was Leicester at home in the third round. We used that as our motivation.
“I got taken off the other day against Salford as a precaution. I had a golf ball-sized bruise on the side of my eye. I have now given myself another lump but I just try and get my head on the ball as much as I can.
“Ben Reeves has put in a great ball again. I said to him just before the corner to hang it up because the player blocking me wasn’t really marking tight. I managed to attack the ball and get my head on it and thankfully it went in. Set-pieces are a good way for us to score because we have size. We utilised that the best we could.
“As a team we are really happy that we are going through. We worked as hard as we could to reach the third round and now we have a chance to test ourselves against another Premier League side.”
Baggott’s goal might have set the ball rolling but it was the winner that really caught the eye. The pace, power and poise displayed by Hakeeb Adelakun to finish off the game and send Gillingham through sent home fans into a frenzy. It wasn’t a surprise to Baggott, however, he has seen it all before in training.
“He shows these qualities in training so it was just a matter of time until it happened in a game,” revealed Baggott. “To have the legs to get up the pitch so late on was really good. Thankfully for the whole team he was able to score. It was an unbelievable goal for the winner, especially so late in the game. I had a great view of the goal and I was just praying he would slot it away, and he did.”