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Gillingham midfielder Jake Hessenthaler gained national recognition for his recent wonder goal against Coventry City

21 March 2014
by Luke Cawdell

Jake Hessenthaler is mobbed by team-mates after scoring his wonder goal against Coventry. Picture Barry Goodwin

Jake Hessenthaler is mobbed by team-mates after scoring his wonder goal against Coventry. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Jake Hessenthaler has seen enough of the wonder goal that will be remembered by Gillingham fans for years.

His 40-yard strike in the 4-2 win over Coventry last week led to interview requests from national papers and was given top billing on the BBC’s Football League Show on Saturday night.

The 19-year-old enjoyed the moment but hasn’t let the attention go to his head and is focused on helping Gills clinch League 1 safety.

He said: “I’ve watched the goal back a few times, mainly my family making me watch it back.
“It got better each time to start with but now it’s boring!

“I’ve had a few people say it was a good goal and it’s been nice to be applauded for it.

“The main thing was we won the game but it was also a pretty nice feeling for my first league goal to be something special like that.

“I’m just happy I’ve scored a goal and I want to keep pushing on now and play as many games as I can. I’ve got my dad to keep me grounded as well.”

Hessenthaler grew up as a Gills fan on the back of dad Andy playing for and managing the club. He was mascot at the 2000 play-off final victory over Wigan at Wembley. He will never grow tired of comparisons with his dad.

Andy played 365 games for the Gills between 1996 and 2005, scoring 29 goals.

Hessenthaler said: “I was on the pitch at Gillingham when I was younger, scoring at the

Rainham End but I can’t remember much about it.

“I basically supported whoever my dad played for and Gillingham was a massive part of his career, so I did grow up supporting them.”

He added: “The comparison doesn’t faze me. I’ve had it over the years and I just get on with it. I’m proud of what he’s done at the football club and I’m trying to achieve as much as I can.

“If I can achieve half of what he’s done, I’ll be happy. I don’t get bored or annoyed with people talking about my dad.

“Who’ll be better? That’s a hard one.

“He played for a long time, until he was 43, but I started earlier than him so I’ve got one up on him already. We’ll see.”


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