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Old 29-01-2019, 23:44   #11
Phil Whalley
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Re: Gills thread

It was a hard-fought point, increasingly so as the game wore on. Both sides had their moments in the first-half, a Sean Mac long-ranger for us, but the closest to a goal was an Eaves skimmer from the right-hand side of the box that went just wide.

I thought both sides stepped it up in the second-half, Stanley were the first to have a sustained period of pressure which culminated in a Billy header cleared off the line by Eaves with the keeper beaten.

Then the Gills pushed us back for a while, during which Johnny made a couple of decent saves, tipping a free kick over the bar and then coming out to smother a shot at the far post.

On the whole a solid and determined performance from us, without really clicking into top gear attacking-wise. Coley did bring on Smyth with 15 mins left, switching to four at the back, but both he and Billy were feeding off scraps by this point as we weren't able to link up play from back to front as efficiently as we had at times earlier in the game. Callum had played as an all-out wing-back and was often deep in their half and the supplier of most crosses from the right, while the Don also made the occasional foray down the left.

Billy had a tough time of it against Zakuani, who for me is a tremendous centre-half at this level, although I reckon he must have asked Billy for his shirt at the end, so keen was he to keep hold of it during the game. MOTM will probably go to Johnny, and he deserved it for a totally competent and commanding performance - he made the saves you expected him to make, along with one or two that you thought he might not, caught crosses and kicked well.

But I also thought that Ben had an excellent game too, not only in the air but also in effectively coping with the pace of the Gills' wide men. A nod also to Coley for a good set-up - the presence further forward of the full-backs gave Sean Mac and Clicker the cover and support to drift inside to try and link with each other and Billy. Clear-cut chances from us were relatively few, but we looked quite fluid going forwards at times and we were never camped in our half for prolonged periods.
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