McDon­ald bags two as Gills eye safety

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Char­lie Ben­nett

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.”

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