‘Unstoppable’ John Akinde helps Gillingham beat Bristol Rovers

John Akinde scored twice
John Akinde scored twice (PA Wire)
16:24pm, Sat 20 Feb 2021
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Gillingham assistant Paul Raynor described striker John Akinde as “unstoppable” after his two goals fired the Gills to a 2-0 win against Bristol Rovers.

The 31-year-old made it three goals in four days and could have had a hat-trick at Priestfield but missed a penalty in the second half of the League One clash.

Akinde beat the offside trap in the 67th minute and fired past Rovers goalkeeper Joe Day, before bagging his second in stoppage time by turning in Kyle Dempsey’s cut back.

And Raynor said the former Rovers striker is brimming with confidence.

“I spoke to John yesterday and he said how much he’s enjoying his football right now,” he said.

“That comes from scoring goals, playing with a smile on his face and being in the limelight. We know he’s got goals in the locker. He’s a powerhouse and when he gets going he’s unstoppable.

“The form John’s in at the minute I fully expected him to put the ball into the back of the net when he went through for his first goal today.

“Consistency is what we’ve been talking about for weeks now. Can we go back-to-back, can we go on a run? That’s what we need to do if we’re going to start looking up the table and at the play-offs.

“We need to put a run of wins and draws together. That’s our aim – it won’t be easy – but we’ll take a lot of confidence from the second half today.”

The defeat marks Rovers’ first under interim manager Tommy Widdrington, who replaced the sacked Paul Tisdale 10 days ago.

But, despite the setback, Widdrington was encouraged by the performance.

“I hate losing but it’s not a day for ranting and raving,” he said.

“The show we put up against this team today was better than what we put up against them earlier on this season.

“To a man the lads gave everything they had and we were excellent for the first 45 minutes. We had the chances in that first half to warrant a lead. Ultimately the first goal was going to be huge today and it went in our net.

“I can’t fault them for their effort but we were a little bit naive on occasions in certain areas. If there’s a tinge of disappointment it’s that we had a lot of the ball in good areas when the game got stretched at 1-0 and we didn’t use it in the way I thought that we could.

“I think people will see the effort from the players today. It’s not against the rules to lose a football match – it’s how you lose them.”

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