The positivity surrounding Gillingham FC after their first league win of the season lasted just one week.
The Gills travelled to Rochdale looking to kickstart their season following their home win against Charlton last weekend. But things went terribly wrong as they crashed to a 3-0 defeat – and it could have been even worse.
The damage was done in the space of two first-half minutes, as Gillingham conceded two goals in the space of 120 seconds as they spectacularly threw away the chance of three points at Spotland.
Joe Bunney’s run forward saw the Rochdale man beat three Gills defenders before his effort was well blocked by Holy. But the rebound fell kindly for Ian Henderson who put the hosts ahead on 25 minutes.
Gillingham collapsed seconds later when they fell two goals behind as Joe Rafferty netted Rochdale’s second after a mistake from Gills keeper Tomas Holy.
And things went from bad to worse for the Gills when striker Tom Eaves was red carded after being adjudged to have elbowed Rafferty a minute before the break.
Things could have gotten even worse for the visitors when Gabriel Zakuani fouled Henderson to concede a late penalty. But Holy partly-redeemed himself for his earlier error by saving well from Henderson’s spot-kick.
The third goal did eventually arrive, however, when substitute Matt Done finished the job and consigned the Gills to their fifth defeat of the league season.
Gillingham mustered just one shot on target on yet another disappointing day. And after a few days of optimism and positivity, reality has returned to the club, which finds itself back in the relegation zone once again.
Gills XI vs Rochdale
Holy, O’Neill, Zakuani, Nugent, Lacey, Ehmer (Parker 45), Byrne, Bingham, Clare, Eaves (S/O 44), Wilkinson (Nash 45)
Unused subs: Hessenthaler, Ogilvie, Oldaker, Arnold, Starkey
Social media reaction
So many “Pennock out lot are quiet this week” posts after Charlton, wonder if we’ll see the same tonight 🤔
— JKW (@JoshGFCKeeble) September 23, 2017
Couple of comments from the #Rochdale press box, "worst side I've seen in a long time"…"they're not going to stay up."
— Luke Cawdell (@KentOnlineGills) September 23, 2017
It's easy for players and staff to rise to games against Southend and Charlton. Today we played a team around us, and got turned over. Poor.
— Reece Heard (@Reece_GFC) September 23, 2017
Pennock or no Pennock, I fear us Gills fans need to start preparing ourselves for starting next season in the fourth tier. Grim
— Jim Staples (@JimStaples) September 23, 2017