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FOOTBALL: Wolves cane Gills with six of the best; Wolves 6 Gillingham 0.

Byline: Ian EDWARDS

WOLVES blew away the clouds of doom threatening to engulf their promotion charge with this spectacular win.

Hapless Gillingham were drenched under a shower of goals as Wolves ran up their biggest home win of the season... and responded in superb style to Dave Jones's plea to stay positive in the race to the play-offs.

Jones had been preaching all week to keep the faith after the dreadful bore draw with Stoke City had left supporters reaching for the pep pills.

And his determination to stand firm as the pressure mounts at Molineux was given the perfect reward as his side went goal-crazy against their former keeper Vince Bartram, who was drafted in to start when regular No 1 Jason Brown was injured in the warm-up.

Kenny Miller warmed up for what is expected to be his second Scotland cap next weekend by taking his goal tally to the season to a magnificent 21.

And he was joined in the goal-fest by Mark Kennedy, who bagged himself a brace to go alongside further strikes from Nathan Blake and Colin Cameron as sorry Gillingham were torn apart.

Molineux has not been a happy hunting ground for Jones's men - they have frittered away 28 precious points there, which seems impossible on this kind of showing.

That has cost them any chance of an automatic promotion spot, but if they can maintain this kind of form no one will want to face them in the play-offs in May.

And what a difference a few days makes. Following the 0-0 draw with Stoke City on Tuesday night, Jones was talking about booting anyone out of his dressing room who has a negative bone in his body.

He had spent the rest of the week urging his players to be positive - but even he could not have reckoned on the kind of response that devastated Gillingham in an opening 45 minutes that has not been witnessed in the Black Country for many years.

By the time they were pouring the half-time cuppas, Gillingham's plans to frustrate in the same way Stoke did had been ruined.

Blake rammed in the first after a great exchange with Paul Ince, his first goal since a hat-trick last October against Gillingham - and that opened the floodgates.

Cameron shot home low from 12 yards, a goal which was the signal for Gillingham to capitulate completely with Kennedy and Miller taking full advantage.

Kennedy had slotted in the third before the pair both struck in first- half stoppage time as all Gillingham's resistance wilted.

Miller only had to wait two minutes after the restart for his second, driving the ball low under Bartram to finish off the keeper's miserable homecoming.

WOLVES: Murray 6 - Irwin 7, Naylor 6, Lescott 6, Butler 6 - Ince 7, Newton 6, Cameron 7 (Rae, 60mins, 7), Kennedy 8 (Proudlock, 90mins) - Blake 8, *MILLER 9 (Sturridge, 70mins, 7).

GILLINGHAM: *BARTRAM 6 - Southall 5, Edge 5, Nosworthy 5, Hope 5 - Shaw 5, Saunders 4, Smith 5, Osborn 5 - Johnson 5 (Ipoua, 57mins, 5), Sidibe 5. Ref: H Webb 6.
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Mar 23, 2003
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