McDonald bags two as Gills eye safety
ADY Pennock believes tomorrow’s crucial derby clash at Charlton Athletic is the perfect match for his Gillingham side after they boosted their survival chances with a thrilling victory over Bristol Rovers on Good Friday.
Cody McDonald’s two late goals ensure Gillingham head to local rivals Charlton five points clear of the drop, knowing that a victory against their fellow strugglers could guarantee their safety.
And they will arrive in south London full of confidence after McDonald smashed in with two minutes left before confidently lobbing Bristol keeper Joe Lumley to send a nervy Priestfield crazy.
“You have got to play the game, not the occasion. I think it is an ideal game for us. We have said before, when we have played the teams around us we have not been great,” he said.
“Maybe the quality has not been great. But Monday is a perfect game for us. It is a local derby and we are taking over 2,000 fans. We have asked for more tickets and we want to make sure we win and get safe.
“We have to go to Charlton and get a result there, that is for sure. If we lose at Charlton and the other teams win their games then we are back in it. We have not done anything yet that’s for sure.”
Josh Wright smashed Gillingham ahead against Bristol but the visitors got on level terms shortly after when Tom Lockyer was dragged down by Deji Oshilaja in the box, and Billy Bodin thumped the penalty down the middle.
Rovers, desperately in need of a win with results going against them in the race for the top six, piled forward – allowing McDonald to twice hit them on the break.
The defeat effectively ends Bristol Rovers’ chances of promotion and manager Darrell Clarke is already planning for next season – insisting the club will not rest of its laurels.
“Like the supporters, I am an impatient man and we need to improve it,” Clarke said.
“We have got to decide as a football club what we want to do because we cannot keep overachieving.
“We need to sit down and make sure we keep moving forward.
“I said three years ago that this club should be competing in the top half of League One – but now we have to take it forward.
“The supporters like myself and the owners want to go forward and improve on this come next season.
“We have got to work hard to do that to move forward.”