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Young guns do Gills proud

DANNY SPILLER: netted the winner eight minutes from time. Picture: MATT WALKER
DANNY SPILLER: netted the winner eight minutes from time. Picture: MATT WALKER

GILLINGHAM'S young guns put in huge performances to help the side to a crucial 2-1 victory over Notttingham Forest on Saturday.

The club's long injury list meant this weekend's squad included nine players 25 and under, including two 17-year-olds on the bench in the form of Matthew Jarvis and Jonathan Wallis.

Yet guided by the old heads of player manager Andy Hessenthaler, skipper Paul Smith and central defender Barry Ashby, the youngsters did the team proud in the 2-1 win.

Midfielder Danny Spiller, 25, and defenders Leon Johnson, 22, and Richard Rose, 21, were singled out for praise by the manager.

He said: "We are decimated with injuries with 11 senior players out and are relying on the kids at the moment and the kids look fantastic.

"I thought Danny was outstanding today and Leon and Richard were not far behind. Danny is a young boy who is getting better all the time.

"I think things have got on top of him a bit especially away from home, where he will admit himself he is not as effective as when he is at home. We need to get that into his game, but today he was first class."

Hessenthaler was also pleased with the support and his goal scorers, 23-year-old Patrick Agyemang and Spiller. He said: "The crowd were great, but we looked a bit nervous in the first 20 minutes and had to settle down.

"Patrick's goal came from nothing. It was a really good strike with hardly any backlift and it just flew in and I'm glad Danny got the winner because the effort he put in."

Despite the Gills having the better of the play, Nottingham Forest manager Joe Kinnear refused to admit they were beaten by a better side.

He launched a scathing attack on the referee Phil Crossley, saying: "For the winning goal we headed it clear, it came out to the edge of the box and three of their players were standing unmarked, but I'll have to wait for the video.

"We feel bitterly hard done by and the only thing that ruined the day for me, apart from the result, was the performance of the referee which was just pathetic."

Kinnear will consider appealing against Alan Rogers' late red card for violent conduct, given following a tackle on Kevin James.

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