Willand succumbed to a classic defeat to a visiting team conceding an 87 minute goal to 2nd place Gillingham. The game started in torrents of rain which would have had Noah rubbing his hands. As the heavens opened the Willand faithful packed the stand and the covered area to keep out of the way of the biblical proportioned storm.The weather certainly did not dampen the player’s spirit and as early as the 3rd minute a Russell Jee free kick was pushed away for a corner. From the resulting set piece a David Steele flick was cleared off the line. Willand kept pressing Dean Stamp and Luke Alden had efforts saved at the second occasion. A Dan Western fierce drive was deflected narrowly wide the same player on the 25th minute had a shot that squirmed through the keeper only to roll agonisingly wide of the far post.In the 35th minute Simon Hill had a header from a Bobby Hopkinson corner also cleared off the line. But as the game went on Gillingham crept back into the game their striker hit the post on 40th minutes. This stirred Rovers into one more effort of the half with Alden firing wide.Into the second half and the game plan seemed to change more aerial balls were played forward thereby bypassing the heavy pitch, but those balls were swallowed up by the Gillingham back line. With Rovers feeding off second balls they got a free kick on 54 minutes which Hopkinson curled onto the roof of the net. Western’s jinxing run step up Stamp on the volley who shaved the post with his shot.The defining moment in the game came on 66th minute when Stamp was pushed off the ball a move that suited the All Blacks rather than a football match. No penalty, so for the second game in a row the referee failed to act on fouls in the box which would have been fouls anywhere else on the park.5 minutes later Western hit the cross bar with a curler and followed that up with some fantastically quick feet only for his shot to fly over. He was replaced on 80 minutes by Owen Howe. Rovers started to build up a head of steam and gained more possession but a combination of tired legs and doughty defending meant the ball was often returned with interest for Rovers to start again.In the 87th minute a throw from Alexander was not gathered by Rovers and the far post cross was nodded home for Gillingham and three points. A classic sucker punch.
Rovers: Alexander: Wannell©, Hill, Clampin, Jee: Steele, Rogers, Hopkinson. Alden: Western, Stamp: Subs Howe for Western (80) Baily and Hambly not used.