Dickov outraged at officials
DONCASTER manager Paul Dickov raged at the performance of referee Chris Sarginson and his assistants after Jake Hessenthaler’s controversial goal handed Gillingham victory at Priestfield.
Dickov and his players were incensed at decisions to call Andy Williams back for offside when clean through at the end of the first half, to not award Rovers a penalty for a second-half foul on Cedric Evina and to rule that Hessenthaler’s winner had crossed the line.
And under-fire Dickov, whose side have still won just once in the league this season, felt the match officials played a key role in Donny’s failure to take a share of the spoils.
“We didn’t start very well in the first 15 or 20 minutes,” said the Scot. “We caused ourselves lots of problems by not retaining possession, and then throughout the course of the game after that we’ve had the better chances.
“Their goalkeeper has been named man of the match for a reason and we’ve had a stonewall penalty on Cedric turned down. It’s getting to the stage where it’s ridiculous.
“The linesman’s had two, we feel, game-defining decisions that are both wrong. Andy is two yards onside. How can he give offside when he’s one-on-one with the goalkeeper?
“They are game-defining moments – just before half-time you go in one-nil up. Cedric’s penalty, game-defining moment at nil-nil, and then the no-goal that they’ve got to win the game – it’s flabbergasting.
“There’s no way the linesman can be 100 per cent certain because he’s got a player in front of him and the whole ball is clearly not over the line. It was a massive decision that they’ve got wrong.
“We’ve got to be very careful with what we say because we get in trouble for that sort of thing, but it’s just not good enough.”
Gillingham enjoyed the majority of possession in an easily forgettable first half, but the best two openings undoubtedly fell to Doncaster.
Williams first set Curtis Main free shortly before the interval, with the lively striker denied by Gills stopper Stuart Nelson, before Oscar Gobern fired into the sidenetting seconds later.
The second period brought a marginal improvement and both Gills’ Cody McDonald and Rovers’ Richard Chaplow went close.
In between, Evina appeared to have been tripped in the box as he cut inside home right-back Ryan Jackson, but Sarginson brought play back for a throw-in.
Just as Doncaster seemed to be gaining the ascendancy, Gillingham took the lead in contentious fashion. First, the visitors’ appeals for offside against Bradley Dack fell on deaf ears as he raced away on the right and his subsequent cross found Hessenthaler.
His powerful half-volley appeared to have been blocked superbly on the line by Mitchell Lund, but the referee’s assistant flagged for a goal to leave Doncaster outraged.
As for Gillingham manager Justin Edinburgh, he said: “It was a tough game, very physical. We’ve had a lot of disruption to the team in the last 24 to 48 hours, losing three of our back four, so to keep a clean sheet and win the game was a fantastic achievement.
“I think what we’ve shown here is that we haven’t got a group of players here who are just happy to be a part of the squad.
“Everyone wants to play and I think that’s shown how good we are as a group.”
TIMELY STRIKE: Jake Hessenthaler scores the crucial goal for Gillingham