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Club News

We've Met Before | Gillingham (H)

16 February 2023

Club News

We've Met Before | Gillingham (H)

16 February 2023

Saturday’s game with Gillingham will mark the 54th time that these two clubs have faced each other.

Gillingham edge the overall head-to-head, beating Dale 18 times, drawing 19 and losing 16.

The two sides met earlier in the season, in what was Dale’s first league away game of the season. Scott Kashket scored an early first-half goal, which was enough to secure the three points for Gillingham.

In the recent meetings at the Crown Oil Arena, Dale have lost once, drawn once and won three times. Before Gillingham’s last win at Dale in December 2020, they hadn’t won here since May 2009.

Between March 2017 and September 2018, we welcomed Gillingham three times, winning each game by a three-goal margin.

We’ve taken a look back at those games…


Saturday 15th September 2018 – Dale 3-0 Gillingham

This game marked Ian Henderson’s first-ever senior hat-trick.

In an entertaining first-half, the clear-cut opportunities fell to Dale.

Henderson grabbed his first goal of the game after just nine minutes. Josh Lillis’ ball out was flicked on by a Gillingham defender, who was under pressure from Aaron Wilbraham, and despite Calvin Andrew being bundled to the ground on the edge of the area, Dale’s number 40 raced onto the ball and finished low beyond Tomas Holy into the bottom corner.

The Dale skipper didn’t have to wait too much longer for his second. In the 18th minute, Matty Gillam fed the ball through to Henderson, who ran at goal before slotting home from a tight angle.

Tom Eaves had the best chance for Gillingham when he met Mark Byrne's cross unchallenged, only to guide a header wide.

Minutes later, Ryan Delaney had the ball in the back of the net, heading home from a Sam Hart corner, but the goal was ruled out for a foul inside the area. Both sides offered a few more chances before the half-time whistle, but neither added another goal to the scoresheet.

Our all-time leading goal scorer thought he had his first ever senior hat-trick within 60 seconds of the restart, when he headed Hart’s corner into the back of the net, but again it was ruled out for a foul inside the area.

For the visitors, Eaves almost made up for his earlier miss with a stunning 25-yard shot against the crossbar.

After an action-packed opening to the second-half, the Henderson did grab his third, netting in style. Wilbraham’s clipped cross was met by Henderson, who finished beyond Holy with an acrobatic scissor kick.

The Dale forward received a standing ovation when he made way for Matty Done late in the second-half, as well as collecting his match ball after the full-time whistle.

Saturday 23rd September 2017 – Dale 3-0 Gillingham

Another 3-0 win at the Crown Oil Arena and another Ian Henderson goal.

In typical fashion, Henderson pounced on a loose ball in the box and fired in to put Dale ahead. Joe Bunney’s initial effort was saved, but only as far as Dale’s number 40, who put Dale ahead after 24 minutes.

Two minutes later, Joe Rafferty doubled Dale’s lead with a close-range header following a fumble from the Gillingham goalkeeper.

Just before the break Tom Eaves was given a straight red card for the visitors for a foul on Rafferty. This resulted in a comfortable second-half for Dale.

Tomas Holy, the Gillingham shot stopper, made a good save early in the second-half. Bunney’s free-kick was cleared only as far as Brad Inman on the edge of the box, his clever ball found the Dale skipper, but Holy was equal to it.

Josh Lillis was called into action later in the second-half, flying to his left to save Billy Bingham’s free-kick which was curling towards the top corner. The Dale keeper plucked the ball out of mid-air.

Late on, Henderson was brought down inside the area after bundling his way through the Gillingham defence. He stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but saw it saved by Holy to his right. The rebound fell to Henderson, whose header then flew over the crossbar.

In added time, Matty Done latched onto a through ball and clinically found the net, wrong-footing Holy and sending the Gillingham keeper the wrong way, ensuring Dale finished the game with three goals and three points.

Saturday 18th March 2017 – Dale 4-1 Gillingham

Dale secured three points at home in style as they beat Gillingham 4-1, with Ian Henderson on the scoresheet once again.

The home side started off the game strong as Callum Camps sent the first effort of the game over the crossbar with his left foot. The second chance came from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, who picked up the ball in the right channel, shifted the ball onto his left foot and arrowed an unstoppable effort into the far top corner.

Five minutes later, Henderson nearly doubled Dale’s lead. His effort was denied by the legs of Stuart Nelson after a ricochet fell into his path, before he turned a Mendez-Laing cross over the bar at the near post.

Dale were made to rue their missed chance to go two-nil up, as Gillingham equalised against the run of play through Josh Parker. Mark Byrne’s cross from the left was headed against the near post by Parker, but the rebound fell kindly to him, and he smashed the ball into the roof of the net.

Both sides created a couple of chances following this, including a few from Dale’s number 40. His best effort was a glancing header that bounced off the inside of the far post before being cleared away from danger.

Henderson’s persistence would pay off in the 33rd minute when he put Dale back ahead. Mendez-Laing fed a ball behind the Gillingham defence for Henderson to run on toand he lifted the ball over Nelson and into the far corner from 25 yards.

The post denied Dale again before the break, when Medez-Laing brilliantly dribbled his way into the area, only to see his effort cannon back off the upright.

Dale’s third inevitably came four minutes into the second-half. Mendez-Laing was released down Dale’s left-hand side from Henderson. His pace took him away from the defence and into the area, where he squared the ball to Camps who had the simple task of tapping the ball into the back of the net.

The game continued at a fast pace. The visitors had an effort saved well by the chest of Conrad Logan, who was in between the sticks for Dale. Mendez-Laing, already with a goal and two assists to his name, was denied a second goal by a flying save from Nelson.

A red card for Gillingham would weigh the game more in Dale’s favour just before the hour mark, whenZesh Rehman was shown a second yellow card after a late challenge on Mendez-Laing.

In the final minute of normal time, Peter Vincenti put the game well and truly to bed. He raced onto a ball down the right-hand side and shrugged off his marker, before rounding the Gillingham keeper and slotting home past two covering defenders, finishing off an impressive Dale performance.

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