Allen eyes a repeat showing next term
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.”
ON THE UP: Gillingham celebrate with the trophy