Friday, 20 January 2012

Gillingham - Priestfield

Gillingham FC
Priestfield Stadium
Redfern Avenue

01634 300000
Official Website

Matchday Number: 113
Tuesday 22nd November 2005
Gillingham 2-2 Wycombe Wanderers (Wycombe won 3-1 on penalties)
LDV Vans Trophy

My first visit to Gillingham came in November 2005. Wycombe had been relegated to League 2 a couple of seasons previously, whilst Gillingham were still in the league above. Being the home side, this made them considerable favourites for the game. I went on the supporters coach, due to not fancying the slog round the M25 and was treated to a great game. Matt Jarvis put Gillingham 2-0 up within 27 minutes and the game looked dead and buried, especially as Wycombe had rested a few players. But Wycombe striker Charlie Griffin popped up with a brace of his own. And so after 120 minutes of action where both sides had chances to win it, but didn't, it was down to the lottery of a penalty shoot out. Things started badly for Wycombe in this, Griffin, who had scored from the spot in normal time missed the first penalty. However Gillingham were even worse and only scored 1 out of 5 penalties. So despite a miss from Matt Bloomfield, successful conversions from Kevin Betsy, Clint Easton and Roger Johnson were enough to win it for Wycombe with future Wycombe player Tom Williams the only one to score for the Gills. I made 2 further visits to Gillingham, Wycombe gaining a 1-1 draw and a 2-0 victory, which were both excellent results at the time.

PRIESTFIELD is excellent on 3 sides of the stadium. The 2 biggest and best looking sides are the 2 tiered Medway Stand which has executive boxes in the middle. And the Rainham End, which is a large all seated stand behind one goal. The 2 stands are joined in the corner by a building, which I am not sure what purpose it serves, but it blends in well nonetheless. Along the other side of the pitch is the Gordon Road Stand, another all seated stand, but this time a lot smaller. It looks pretty decent and has good views, as this is where Wycombe fans sat in the LDV Trophy game. It also has an electronic scoreboard. The one remaining end, the Brian Moore Stand is uncovered seating, basically a meccano set! Typically the away fans get this, though they do hand out free plastic macs if it rains. There are a few pubs near the ground, though you are better off walking into the town centre to the excellent Will Adams pub, which does great food and real ale and cider.

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