Buckland Athletic v Gillingham Town – 21/08/13
This was always going to be a tight affair with both teams being unbeaten in their two games so far this season. Also, the Gills have never won at Homers Heath having played there twice last season, once in the Les Phillips Cup, and lost both times
The game started at a pace and the first chance fell to Buckland in the 4thminute. A good passing move ended with a shot from the edge of the box which was blocked well by Jamie Beale in goal, and he had to be quick to gather the ball before the oncoming forward.
The Gills’ first chance came just 2 minutes later and started with a great through ball by Harry Baker to Ben Thomson. Ben fired in a low cross to Lee Gale who was unmarked at the back post but he saw his effort come back off the upright.
On the quarter hour mark Jamie Beale was called into action again, this time having to make a good stop with his legs. The pressure on the Gills’ goal continued with Buckland having the better of the rest of the half. The central defensive pairing of Jack Vallis and Gary Bowles rose to the pressure though, making some crucial tackles, blocks and clearing headers, with Jamie Beale also playing his part.
So at half time the scores were level at 0-0 with Buckland edging the game. However, the second half was a different matter with the Gills beginning to get into the game more. On the hour mark the Gills’ attacking play forced Buckland into three desperate clearances. The pressure continued till the last 15 minutes when the game again turned into a bit of a stale-mate, with both teams looking like they didn’t want to throw away the point.
With 5 minutes left Buckland were unlucky not to take the lead when a great strike struck the crossbar.
Ryan Murray had played an increasingly important part in the game and in the 88thminute he made another run down the right wing and played a ball which found its way to Nick Compton just inside the area. Nick hit a shot with the inside of his foot to place the ball just inside the post and give the Gills the lead with just 2 minutes remaining.
After this Buckland worked hard to get an equaliser but just couldn’t break down the stoic Gills’ defence. So the Gills came away having taken all three points from a Buckland side that seems to be much stronger than last season. A fair result would probably have been a draw but the Gills will be glad of the three points that moves them to the top of the table, but nobody is getting carried away at this early stage of the season
Man of the Match was Gary Bowles.
Gills line-up: Beale, Murray, Thomson N, Vallis, Bowles, Compton, Baker, Clarke, Rodriguez, Thomson B, Gale, (Thompson 80). Unused subs: Sansom, Baker J, Smeeton, Foster.