The following is an Inquest/Opinion piece written as part of an assessment for Southampton Solent University and bares no link to my time working at Gillingham Football Club nor my personal views on the club and its members.
Gillingham’s latest league defeat at home to Peterborough United presented a solemn representation of Ady Pennock’s time as head coach.
The game’s stop-start tempo and lack of real quality and desire drew many similarities to the Gills so far under Pennock.
As a spectacle, it needed an ignition; something Gillingham failed to provide before Peterborough’s Junior Morias obliged with minutes to go.
The same can be said for Gillingham under Pennock; rare and sporadic victories have failed to kick start the Kent side’s season.
A 1-0 defeat away to Oldham Athletic in his opener early January set the tone for the rest of the month; his side failed to win a game until late February.
Wins against fellow strugglers Bury at the start of the month and, in particular, a stunning late comeback at home to Scunthorpe hinted at a possible revival under the former Gills player.
But the 3-2 victory against the Irons proved another false dawn as Pennock’s side went on to lose their next three games.
This Saturday’s meeting with Peterborough United provided another opportunity for his Gillingham side to turn a corner, create a fresh start, and finish the current campaign with promise ahead of the next.
Before kick-off, the Head Coach claimed: “We have learnt from last weekend [a 4-1 defeat to Rochdale], and the players are chomping at the bit to get out there on Saturday.”
What followed showed little of that desire hinted at pre-match; a mere three shots on target from the home side all game highlighting how they failed to test their opponents.
Pennock himself admitted: “It was a stop-start, stop-start game. It didn’t flow as we wanted to.”
Whilst his arrival has not heaped the rewards chairman Paul Scally hoped for, it becomes clear to any regular Gillingham spectator that the problems do not lie at the head coach’s door only.
The quality of the squad needs improving in many areas, something only added investment will seek to progress.
But it’s Pennock’s responsibility to make the best of what he has got; many feel this is not currently the case.