Gillingham 2 Nottingham Forest 1

Last updated : 06 March 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Gillingham claimed only their second victory of the year in this must-win contest against Nottingham Forest, to give themselves a boost in their efforts to stay in Division One.

Manager Andy Hessenthaler described this game as "massive" and the result was the first defeat suffered by Joe Kinnear since suffering a heart attack.

However, Hessenthaler was the villain of the piece as far as Kinnear was concerned, with the new Forest boss livid.

He launched an angry attack on referee Phil Crossley who allowed the Gills player-manager to stay on the field after rugby tackling Forest dangerman Andrew Reid as he raced towards goal.

Mr Crossley's decision to show yellow rather than red may have been influenced by the fact that there were two Gillingham defenders around the incident, but that was lost on Kinnear who labelled the Blackheath official an "absolute clown" and described his performance as "pathetic".

To compound Kinnear's misery Forest finished with ten men after Alan Rogers was sent off in stoppage time for a challenge on Kevin James.

Forest have a good record against Gillingham with only two defeats in their previous 12 meetings and this meeting took place less than a fortnight after the goalless draw at the City Ground.

The visitors took the lead through Nick Barmby, but Patrick Agyemang's superb equaliser got the Gills back on level terms.

The winner came nine minutes from the end through Danny Spiller, the youngster being groomed as Hessenthaler's long-term replacement.

He thoroughly deserved the standing ovation given to him just before the end but for Hessenthaler there are many tough battles ahead with the first division survival race set to produce many twists and turns between now and the end of the season.