Rochdale reduced to nine and Hill fumes
ROCHDALE manager Keith Hill blasted referee Andy D’Urso and his two assistants after his side’s play-off chances all but ended with a controversial defeat at Gillingham.
Bradley Dack’s first-half header earned back-toback victories for the Gills for the first time since February, but Hill took issue with D’Urso’s decision to send off two of his players.
On-loan goalkeeper Jamie Jones was dismissed on 63 minutes after being judged to have fouled Cody McDonald when the striker was through on goal.
Then, Matty Lund, making his first start since Boxing Day, received a straight red for a challenge on Dack seven minutes later.
“I’m not happy with Andy’s performance,” Hill fumed.
“There was one time I was contemplating getting the right number of players sent off to get this game abandoned, but that’s not me.”
Lund was at fault for the winning goal, as Dack got the better of him to head home Doug Loft’s corner at the near post on his 100th game for the Gills.
“It’s a fitting tribute, scoring the winning goal on his 100th game for the club,” said manager Justin Edinburgh.
However, Rochdale had the better of the chances after that, yet somehow they failed to equalise.
Reuben NobleLazarus’s shot, following a quick break, was blocked by team-mate Peter Vin- centi, and leading scorer Ian Henderson saw his brilliant chip come of the inside of a post.
McDonald and John Marquis came close to doubling Gillingham’s advantage in the 15 minutes after half-time with headed efforts, before Dale were then reduced to nine men in quick succession.
“Jamie gets the ball,” said Hill of the incident that saw on-loan goalkeeper Jones dismissed. “It’s the linesman’s decision. It’s a difficult one as the goalkeeper is the last man, but he gets the ball.”
Of Lund's straight red, the Dale manager added: “We’re going to appeal it, there’s no question about it. It was an honest, fair challenge. It wasn’t even a yellow.”
The victory moved Gillingham up to ninth, and moved them closer to reaching Edinburgh’s target of 60 points.
“We owe it to our fans, ourselves and the football club to finish strongly,” Edinburgh said.“It's nice to be in the top half. It’s good to see where we can get to this season.
“I think the two sendings off disrupted the game, and took the tempo out of it.
“We lost our rhythm and we didn’t punish Rochdale enough.
“However, we got a cleansheet, we took three points. It’s back-to-back wins at Priestfield so I’m pleased.”
STAR MAN BRADL
EY DACK Gillingh