The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Hash Piperdy

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


EY DACK Gillingh


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