Allen eyes a re­peat show­ing next term

GILLING­HAM........2

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Nick Bull

GILLING­HAM man­ager Martin Allen says his side will not aim to con­sol­i­date next sea­son af­ter he watched the Kent club win their first league ti­tle since 1964.

The Gills let a two-goal lead slip against rel­e­ga­tion-threat­ened AFC Wim­ble­don, but it was enough for them to seal the cham­pi­onship with one game re­main­ing.

Allen picked up his first league win­ner's medal of his ca­reer, but ad­mit­ted he is look­ing for back-to­back pro­mo­tions.

He said:“League One is av­er­age. There's some good teams, but there are some big clubs coming down from the Cham­pi­onship, and they will be scared stiff of play­ing us at the start of next sea­son be­cause we’re go­ing to be so strong.

“We will be pow­er­ful, we are mov­ing for­ward and we've got to chal­lenge for pro­mo­tion. I don't think I've been em­ployed to be mid-ta­ble.What fail­ure aims for the mid­dle? Why not set our­selves a tar­get to go higher and be bet­ter?

“It's been an amaz­ing ten months. It's a lot­tery win, a Christ­mas Day, a price­less moment.”

It took just 12 min­utes for the cham­pi­ons to open the scor­ing. Alan Ben­nett's clear­ance from Chris Whelp­dale’s cross for­tu­itously fell at the feet of Deon Bur­ton, who sweetly volleyed past John Sul­li­van.

Whelp­dale was again the provider when the Gills dou­bled their ad­van­tage, as former Dons striker Danny Ked­well headed in from his pin­point de­liv­ery.

Char­lie Allen al­most put the re­sult be­yond any doubt with a curl­ing ef­fort from 25 yards shortly be­fore the break, and sub­sti­tute Myles We­ston hit the bar shortly af­ter coming on. Jack Mid­son halved the deficit with 25 min­utes re­main­ing, fin­ish­ing from close range af­ter neat build-up play be­tween Jonathan Meades and Char­lie Strut­ton.

Meades then slot­ted home from Mid­son's cut­back to level the scores on 82 min­utes, and Gary Alexan­der nearly won it for them, but his vol­ley can­noned back off the post.

AFC Wim­ble­don man­ager Neal Ard­ley ad­mit­ted he was dis­ap­pointed that his side only came away from the game with a point, but re­lieved that their bat­tle to avoid rel­e­ga­tion re­mains in their hands with fel­low strug­glers Da­gen­ham & Red­bridge and York fac­ing each other next week­end.

“I thought there was only go­ing to be one win­ner at the end there. At this stage of the sea­son it would have been great if we had got all three points, but it was al­ways go­ing to be a tough call,” he said.

“I'm really dis­ap­pointed with the first half, we worked so hard all week look­ing at how we were go­ing to go about the game, and then we did com­pletely the op­po­site.

“We changed the shape for the sec­ond half and we stirred them up. If we can play like we did af­ter the break next week, we can stay up.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

ON THE UP: Gilling­ham cel­e­brate with the tro­phy

CHAR­LIE STRUT­TON

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