Love it love it love it
29th April 2006 3pm
In what was a bitter sweet weekend, the day belonged to the fans. It was one of those days that have been all to rare this season, a day to be proud to be a saddler.
No disrespect to our hosts for the day but Gillingham away is my least favorite trip and I won't miss my trip round the M25 next year. A half full coach with 21 hardy souls didn't bode well for the day. However things changed when we trecked to the Livingston Arms to be greeted by the Teletubbies, a cowboy and a Slimed down Paul Smith (those who were there will relise the irony). A few pints with our hosts to chourus of 'were down but we are having a laugh' intermixed with 'we are down but still smiling' The scene was set for the final away trip of the season....surely things would go down hill from here.
As I said this was a day to be proud to be a saddler, the atmosphere created by the mall traveling band was a credit to the club, although the players must have been embarrassed to reward such a loyal following with relelgation. The old songs mixed in with the new, attempts ot get a mexican wave going and friendly banter with gills fans and stewards alike made events on the pitch almost irrevelant. I bet the steward taughted with YMCA shaves his moustache off by the time we see him again.
Well what happened on the pitch, well if the truth is known we were not anything special but better than a poor Gillingham side, on the day we just wanted it more. Early stages gillingham carved out some half chances Darren Byfield not getting to an inviting ball and sending a header over when he should have scored...perhaps he is a saddler after all. Up front James was causing problems with his pace and Wright getting into some useful positions, but the cutting edge was missing let again. The last chance saw Oakes save well from Tommy Black.
The first clean cut chance of the second half fell to Kevin James sent clean through, and as the keeper came out tried the spectacular curler into the top corner only for it to sail over the bar.
Then in the 56th minute James was fouled, Keates sent the ball around the wall, Gills Keeper Brown allowed the ball to bounce off his chest, Stevie Claridge beat a clutch of players to the ball to whip it into the net. He celebrated with the saddlers faithful telling us he owed us one.
Gillingham threatened after that a some good stops and wasteful shotting meant the back four dealt with what was thrown at it. Our confidence had returned and some nice touches made a mockery of our league position. A chance for Gills was missed by Byfield in the third minute of stopage time, the saddlers had completed their 7th double over the gills.
As the team came off Kevin James applauded the fans saying 'BRILLANT SUPPORT'
Oh for the ability to make that final creative pass