JUSTINE TIME WITH DACK’S LATE WINNER
GILLINGHAM boss Justin Edinburgh believes the three points picked up against struggling Blackpool could have a huge impact further down the line.
Hosts Gillingham took the lead thanks to Doug Loft’s first goal of the season, but Blackpool pulled level shortly after half-time as Ryan Jackson turned the ball into his own net.
The game looked to be heading for a draw but with ten minutes remaining Bradley Dack struck to hand Gillingham – who remain unbeaten this season – all three points, with Edinburgh insisting he always had faith his side would come through.
“This is not the worst side we’ve played this season,” he said.“It could be a big three points .They were wellorganised. Brad Potts caused a lot of problems breaking from midfield.
“This could be a defining three points at the end of the season. We had a busy season, recruiting ten players and it’s a testament to the group that they’ve bedded in so quickly.
“I’ve been impressed with Bradley Dack from the day I walked through the door. He’s a fantastic footballer, very good attitude, wanting to learn every day. I’ve worked with some good players and he could go beyond that. “Ask any player or manager what makes a team successful and they’ll say team spirit. It’s a massive thing, especially for a young group.”
After a bright Blackpool start Gillingham scored the first goal from a free-kick on 15 minutes. A Luke Norris drive bounced in front of Colin Doyle, and he could only punch the ball into Loft’s path who tap into the empty net.
After an excursion at centre-half against Doncaster, Loft was back in midfield and, alongside Dack, looked to dictate the play high up the pitch. It was the latter whose back heel fooled the defence and allowed Norris an look at goal, but his low shot flashed past the far post. Blackpool were struggling to make an impression on goal, sitting deeper in their half. Gillingham had several chances to double their lead. Jackson’s long throw wasn’t cleared well, leading to a Loft drive which flew over. Norris hit the bar from a 30 yard free-kick and the home side looked more likely to score after break.
They did just that, but at the wrong end. The home defence hesitated and Potts’ ball into the box cannoned off Jackson and into the net for an equaliser.
Looking to hit back, Jake Hessenthaler played it round the corner for Jackson who turned it to Dack, but his shot was heroically blocked by Tom Aldred.
The game was stretched and a spectacular effort from Potts was cleared off the line, the strong followup by Henry Jones saved by Nelson.
As the game threatened to fade away, it was brought back to life. Substitute Rory Donnelly’s cross was collected by Hessenthaler who sidefooted to Dack to slot home for his sixth of the season and another home win for Edinburgh’s men.
Blackpool manager Kevin McDonald said: “I thought we played really well, passing it well and creating chances.
“We’ve got back into the game and bossed it, and I was hoping it would be a matter of time before the second but it didn’t happen.
“Their goal was a killer. I thought our gameplan worked well.
“Both their goals could have been avoided.
“But I have hope for the games coming up because we’ve given the side at the top of the table a run for their money.”
OPENER: Doug Loft scores Gillingham’s first goal
STAR MAN BRADL
EY DACK Gillingh