Published: 06:00, 07 November 2019
Gillingham’s FA Cup trip to Sunderland won’t be a first for Max Ehmer.
The Gills captain has been there, done it and got the t-shirt.
Ehmer was in the Carlisle United team that in January 2014 faced a Sunderland side who were then in the Premier League.
Much has changed since. Sunderland have dropped two divisions and are now playing at the same level as the Gills.
It means Ehmer may have a better chance of celebrating a win this time around.
Recalling his previous experience, which ended in a 3-1 defeat, the 27-year-old said: “It was a big game for Carlisle and I remember they had Jozy Altidore playing upfront for them and he was a handful. I managed to get his shirt after the game.
“They also had Sebastian Larsson and Adam Johnson in the team.
“It was a good game, we pulled it back to 1-1 just before half-time, before conceding twice in the second half.”
Altidore’s shirt got put away in a cupboard and Ehmer is hoping he can lead the side to victory this time around.
“They are a team in our league and anyone is beatable,” he said.
“We are going to go with a game plan that we’re working on. We need to forget about last weekend’s game to a certain extent and take out of it what we need to.”
The Gills lost 3-0 to Rotherham and Ehmer continued: “The gaffer said the scoreline flattered them a little, we missed a couple of chances and they have taken the third while we are all guns blazing in attack.
“Brandon had a chance first half. Score that and it’s a different game. Goals change games.”
Decisions do too, and the Gills felt they were on the wrong side of several made by referee Lee Swabey.
Ehmer had a penalty appeal himself in the second half.
Recalling the incident, he said: “My arm was pulled. I made a little bit of it but they get given. I am not going to keep standing up because I will never get a penalty. I seem to have the biggest markers against me. I seem to get pulled but I never get it given.”
Rotherham were awarded one after an adjudged push from Connor Ogilvie. The visitors didn’t capitalise, however, as Jack Bonham made a good save to deny Michael Smith.
Ehmer said: “I didn’t see Connor’s one. It got crossed in and I remember clearing it at the back post, my back was to it. It was probably hardly any different. If you don’t go down, you don’t get it. He went down and got it, I went down and didn’t.”
The Gills shot themselves in the foot, however. Individual mistakes have proved costly of late and a mix-up between keeper Bonham and defender Ogilvie just after the penalty led to Rotherham’s opener.
Bonham slid out as Ogilvie played the ball back. The keeper missed it and Smith was able to score into an empty net.
Ehmer said: “Connor will say himself, ‘if you are in any doubt you just clear it’, but it was almost the wrong side of him to clear it. He might have cleared it back on himself and taken the chance that it could have just hit the striker.
“It is one of those. It happened to me a while back at home to Blackpool. I was expecting Nels to come out for one, he didn’t come, then you end up getting stuck. It went to the byline, I tried to shield it out but the ball held up, he’s crossed it in and it was a tap-in. It does happen, no matter what league.
“It is not nice but you need to forget about it. Nobody needs to tell Connor, he knows.”
More by this authorLuke Cawdell