The Gills players had to endure some tense moments before they could celebrate Picture: Barry Goodwin
by Luke Cawdell
Gillingham are heading back to Wembley but manager Mark Stimson admitted the play-off semi-final was a nail-biting experience.
“It was very tense,” he said. “We watched the other game, Shrewsbury v Bury, in the morning and we felt for Bury as we thought they should have gone through.
“We knew it was going to be tight. We scored the first goal and looked okay but they pulled one back. We had to calm down and just do what we preach to them day in, day out, which was to pass the ball.
“We went off that a bit but Rochdale didn’t let us do that. Full credit they dug in and at the end we got what we deserved following a run from a player who is an unsung hero at the club in John Nutter.”
Simeon Jackson was the man to net from the spot, scoring his 20 of the season.
“When you need that little bit of magic and nerve and quality at the right time he’s the man,” said Stimson.