Published: 06:00, 24 January 2020
Connor Ogilvie has been an innocent bystander during Gillingham’s last two forgettable visits to Rochdale.
Ogilvie watched from the bench as Ady Pennock’s time as manager came to an end with a 3-0 defeat at Spotland and was back a year later as an unused substitute when Steve Lovell’s side went down by the same scoreline.
This time will be different. He’s become a key player under current manager Steve Evans, making the left-back spot his own and popping up with the odd goal too – including the winner against Rochdale at Priestfield a month ago.
“Hopefully I can do it again!” he said, remembering the 86th-minute header that separated the sides last time out.
“They have caused us some problems at their place but hopefully with the form we are in we can go there and get a result.
“It was a nice one for me to get the winner at the end against them, but they are a good side, they pass the ball well and it will be a tough game.
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“They were quite direct here, but I know what they are like usually and they caused Newcastle a problem at their place (in the FA Cup).
“I’ve got a few last minute goals now and to have done it at the Rainham End was special.”
Ogilvie’s late goals – he scored an 89th-minute winner against Sunderland – help underline what he describes as the boys’ never say die attitude.
“We cause teams problems towards the end of games with our fitness levels and we are not a team to be sitting back and letting them come onto us, we are on the front foot,” he added.
The Gills were pushing for a winner late on against Oxford last weekend, having got back on level terms with an Olly Lee penalty.
Ogilvie said: “We weren’t at it first half but we had a conversation in the changing room and the reaction says it all about the boys and their attitude, it’s just about starting the game how we finish it.
“We put them under pressure with a lot of balls into the box and it just didn’t fall to us.
“But Brandon won the penalty and Olly slotted it away so we take a point, in what was a game of two halves. They were probably on top first half and we were on top second.”
It was a feisty match and Ogilvie was on the end of one challenge early in the second half, which manager Evans described as dangerous, as away striker Jamie Mackie shoved the Gills defender over in the concrete dugout area.
Ogilvie was soon to get to his feet but it could have been worse – not that he’s bitter about the incident.
“I felt the concrete wall brush past my head,” said Ogilvie.
“It’s one of those where you just look to shield the ball out and where it’s concrete you can’t really stop.
“There was nothing malicious in it, he has got to go for the ball hasn’t he? We both went to win it.
“I have gone to shield it out, he has gone to get it and I’ve ended up on the floor but it was nothing.
“It was a little feisty but that’s part and parcel. They came with a game plan to try and slow it down and cause fouls and whatnot, but I thought we dealt with it well. It did get a bit tasty but nothing crazy.”
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Ogilvie often seems to be on the end of a mis-timed challenge, but he takes it in his stride.
“I must be up there as the most fouled player,” smiled Ogilvie.
“I seem to get it quite a lot, but I am always going to be chucking myself into things and sometimes you come off with a foul and sometimes you cause one. Luckily the shinpads help me out sometimes!”
Oxford’s standout player Tariqe Fosu, not always for the right reasons, played most of the game on the opposite side to Ogilvie, where he had Barry Fuller for company, another player who doesn’t mind getting stuck in.
Ogilvie said: “We looked at him before the game and you could see with the quality of the finish (for Oxford’s goal), what a player he is.
“The fans didn’t like him going down but when you have someone like Baz up against you, you are going to hit the floor! Baz doesn’t mince his tackles, he goes in wholehearted, like we all do really, you are going to receive some and give some; it’s part and parcel.”