Now go and win the title demands boss Allen
GILLINGHAM ..1 TORQUAY ........0 GILLS SEAL PROMOTION
MARTIN Allen firmly set his sights on the title after Danny Kedwell’s second-half strike saw off struggling Torquay and fired Gillingham back into League One after a three-year absence.
With Northampton and Rotherham both losing, Kedwell’s 48th-minute volley was enough for the Gills to become the first side in the Football League to gain promotion this season.
This was also Allen’s first promotion as a manager – but he insisted there will be no let-up in Gillingham’s focus as they now seek to win the division.
“First and foremost, our challenge was to get promoted. But now we have got the chance to win the championship,” said Allen.
“We could chuck the kids in and have a bit of a laugh until the end of the season but the players don’t want that and their drive over the past weeks has been about going the whole way.
“It’s been a team effort on and off the field, a lot of people have played their part and helped this club.
“We have got proper men in the team, and we have got some young lads who are full of energy and enthusiasm.
“I had total faith in everybody that they would do the job.”
The Gills started brightly, as Kedwell tested Gulls goalkeeper Martin Rice with a low drive and Adam Birchall hit the bar with a curling shot.
Torquay were content to play on the break, and this approach almost paid off after 18 minutes as former Gillingham loanee Rene Howe hit the post and had an effort cleared off the line in the space of a minute.
Midfielder Ian Morris also wasted a good opportunity shortly before halftime as he headed over from close range when unmarked.
They were made to pay for these missed chances minutes into the second half, as Joe Martin’s brilliantly weighted diagonal ball found Kedwell in the box, who volleyed past Rice.
A nervy finale for the hosts ensued, and Kevin Nicholson almost ruined the their promotion party.
However his 25-yard free-kick cannoned back off the crossbar five minutes before the end.
Despite watching his side lose for the third game in succession, Torquay manager Alan Knill insisted more performances like this will be enough to keep them in the division.
“It was always going to be a tough game. You can see why they are top of the league,” he said.
“They have got good players on the pitch and on the bench, but after the first ten minutes, we grew into the game.
“Even though they had a lot of the ball, we looked dangerous on the counter, which was our plan.
“I thought we were better than we were last week. We applied ourselves better, we showed more effort, more commitment and I will take that. “If we do that for the rest of the season, I think we will comfortably