Headley: Back down to earth

Last updated : 09 August 2005 By Simon Head
I wasn't able to go to the Derby game on Saturday, but I did get myself within earshot of a radio and heard Capital Gold's coverage of the match. While I understand they are somewhat biased towards the Gills, they do tend to call it pretty fairly and the reactions of Trevor Hayes, James O'Reilly and John Hessenthaler said it all. The referee, so it seems, had an absolute nightmare.

Sometimes, no matter what you do, you just know you are going to lose the match. Saturday was one of those days. Despite playing well, the Gills let in two poor goals and they ultimately cost us the match. Nico Vaesen showed signs of the wobbles against Sheffield United a week ago - and unfortunately he was definitely at fault at Pride Park as first a savable free kick swirled its way into the net, then a speculative long shot bobbled through his grasp to seal victory. For those who haven't yet seen the second Derby goal, it was almost an action replay of Paul Smith's goal against Charlton.

Tommy: Cracking goal, but only a consolation
Tommy Johnson produced another moment of magic from his left foot to give our travelling support something to shout about, but unfortunately the performance of the referee seems to have been a major factor in our defeat. There isn't a whole lot we can do about it, other than appeal the sendings off. John Hills' dismissal was apparently scandalous, so hopefully the FA will take a look at it and rule in our favour. If not, the Gills will be without half of our first choice back four for two matches, with little or no cover in the left-back position.

Patrick Agyemang's debut was also the subject of much post-match discussion. Everybody seems to agree that we have signed a very dangerous striker, blessed with lightning pace, but some have suggested that there is a question mark regarding his finishing ability. Depending on who you talk to, Agyemang's two chances early on either were unlucky as the goalkeeper did well, or were poor as he should have tucked chances like that away. To criticise him so early seems a tad harsh, especially as the lad was making his debut and the chances came so early in the game. Certainly, the majority seem to think we have signed a "diamond in the rough". That sounds extremely positive to me, as we have a proven record in developing such players - Marlon King and Ade Akinbiyi are probably the best examples of this. Let's hope Patrick settles in well at Gillingham and is regularly hitting the back of the net sooner rather than later.

Unfortunately, the club's form has dipped following the FA Cup win against Charlton, but the next match sees the club return to FA Cup action. The Gills travel to Turf Moor to take on Burnley. I was hoping we would be coming into the game off the back of a good away win at Derby, but it wasn't to be, so the Gills will need to re-focus and set about Burnley in the same way they did against Charlton in their last cup match. The prize is a place in the last 16 of the biggest cup competition in the world - and the prospect of another tie with a Premiership team. Stan Ternent is one of the most respected managers in the game and will have his Burnley side well prepared for the encounter, but the Gills have the ability to get a result in Lancashire and hopefully by 5.00pm on Saturday, we'll all be celebrating Gillingham's progress to the next round.

Seeing as I mentioned radio coverage earlier, the issue of BBC's local radio coverage seems to have cropped up again. Every Gills fan I have spoken to has said how disappointed they are with the coverage and the standard of commentary from their BBC local station. Personally, I think they can do a lot better with their coverage and could do with some new blood in the commentary box. Radio Kent have the advantage of being part of the BBC and have access to all the Five Live reports and material, but it isn't really used that well as part of the programme.

But rather than simply criticising, I am prepared to do something about it. I used to produce a sports show on local commercial radio and I have always fancied getting behind the mic and commentating on the Gills. In fact I have even written to Radio Kent in seasons past offering my services.

Unfortunately they didn't even grant me a reply. Well, if anyone from BBC Radio Kent does happen to read this column, I am still available and would love to commentate on the Gills and help put together a show that will bring the weekend's football action into people's homes. Please feel free to contact me via this site.