The last time The Imps face today’s opponents Gillingham was on Saturday 16th November 2019 at Priestfield in front of a crowd of 5,567, with Christopher Pollard overseeing proceedings. Today’s man in the middle is Tom Nield.
The Gills won 1-0 that day, with French striker Mandron volleying home from six yards with the game’s first chance after The Imps defence failed to clear a cross from Mark Byrne.
Here’s what PerthImp said after the match: “Better second half, but still no real threat until the last 5 minutes when we actually started to play as we can. Mandron & Hanlan were terrific for Gills but not impressed with the rest of the team. They were very agricultural at times and I’ve rarely seen a team do so much pushing or pulling without being pulled up. No wonder our front men couldn’t get a clean touch on the ball. The last two or three games we’ve moved the ball around very well and created some great chances. Today the passing was terrible and, apart from Walker’s header at the end, we didn’t test the keeper or get a shot on target. Really hate to say it but things looking gloomy until January when hopefully we can get three or four in to lift the quality. The gaps in fixtures not doing us any favours but we really need to step it up and beat teams like Wimbledon and Gillingham.”
Time for the Q&As. Thank you to Gillingham supporters HerrLjunga from Vital Gillingham and Daniel for answering our questions. The answers have been published on two pages. To get to the second set of answers, click “Click here for the second set of answers!” at the bottom of the page or click the name above!
First up, the answers provided by HerrLjunga:
How long have you supported Gillingham?
Since the age of 7, it’ll be 30 years next month.
Where did you finish last season?
13th but with 55 points the finish looked better than it was.
What do you think of your Manager?
Haha, what a question. I’ve always strongly disliked Steve Evans because of his on and off-field antics both against us and in general but I can’t deny he’s a shrewd operator. I still don’t like the bloke and you won’t find me singing his name, but he’s doing a decent job on a limited budget.
What were your hopes and expectations for the 2019/20 season?
Avoiding relegation more comfortably than we’ve managed in recent seasons which is exactly what we’ve achieved and it’s still only February so I guess we’re exceeding my expectations. I think a playoff push is out of reach but who knows?
One(s) to watch?
Akinde obviously, he’ll be gunning for a goal against his old side. Jack Tucker, remember the name, his first season as a first-teamer he’s going to be a very classy centre back at a top team within the next few seasons.
Which teams you think will finish in the top six?
I’d love to see us sneak in there, but I don’t think we’ll make it, we’ve drawn too many and there are some good sides above us. Rotherham, Coventry, Peterborough, Sunderland, Pompey and maybe Wycombe if they can hold on.
Which teams do you think will finish in the bottom three?
Bolton and Southend are gone already, absolute basket cases. A 7pt gap is probably too much for Tranmere, all though their pitch could be a leveller.
What are your thoughts on Lincoln City?
I’m very impressed with your crowds in the last few years and liked the way you played under the Cowleys too. A staple lower league opponent for us in my time following Gills, probably a similar stature.
What do you think the score will be?
I’m going to say 1-0 Gills, has to be Akinde.
Will The Imps Win, Lose Or Draw Against Gillingham?
Random fact about your Club?
No other league side considers us a rival. We used to have Maidstone (aka The Squatters) but they went pop two years after I started supporting Gills and we’ve had nothing since where the rivalry has been reciprocated.
If you could steal one Lincoln City player for your own team, who would it be and why?
I’ve always liked Jack Payne and we were rumoured to be after him in the summer, but he ended up with you guys.
What are your proudest and most embarrassing moments as a Gillingham Supporter?
Proudest? The final whistle in the 99/00 playoff final that got us to the second tier for the first time in our history. Completely turned the game around in extra time to come from behind for the win, which given the scars of the infamous Man City playoff final the season before was some achievement.
Most embarrassing would be away at Shrewsbury where I ended up sitting in my car listening to the radio as goals 5, 6 and 7 go in against us having left after 44 minutes at 4-0. Tried to win some brownie points with the missus by meeting up with her an hour early but her phone had died so I had to wait in the car and listen to a game that I’d paid to be at and left as the goals continued to fly in.
Who would you say is your most underrated player?
I’m not sure we have one really, the season we’re having and the shallow nature of our squad means everyone’s efforts are appreciated.
Do you have a Supporters Trust and what role do they play at the Club?
Which was your favourite match involving Gillingham?
I’ll go with Gills 5-0 Preston opening day of the 01/02 season. We’d followed them around the leagues like a shadow since 1995/96, usually at the top end of the table and developed a bit of a love-hate relationship with them, especially their captain Sean Gregan. We annihilated them and he nearly scored an own goal sixth with a header that hit his own post. We were top of the Championship (admittedly after just the one game) which felt truly bizarre.
Which was your least favourite match involving Gillingham?
Burscough 3-2 Gills in the FA Cup.
05/06. The nadir of supporting Gills for me, we’d been relegated from the Championship the year before, the squad was a mess we’d taken on a duff manager and several duff signings from Scotland and managed to turn an undeserved 2-1 lead entering injury time into a pathetic 3-2 defeat.
Do you have a Former Players Association at Gillingham?
Don’t think so.
What’s the best thing about Gillingham?
Apart from the club? Erm, there’s a nice view over the Medway Estuary? There’s a handful of nice pubs if you know where to look? Rik Waller?
Have any of your supporters made a one-match knee jerk reaction to John Akinde which they will never go back on despite his efforts for your team yet? (I think he will be an excellent player for you)
I don’t think so. I think we all knew we needed a striker and he’s relatively proven, albeit a level below, so I think most people were glad to see him arrive. I’d prefer a younger player with a bit more resale value but if he keeps chipping in the goals and assists I’m happy.
Do you believe much of what Steve Evans says?
As I mentioned at the top, he’s a shrewd operator, he knows how to get the fans on board. That being said, I take everything he says with a pinch of salt.
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) February 22, 2020