Gillingham and Andy Hessenthaler always appeared to be a well-suited combination, so I was surprised to learn that they had parted company this week.

To some clubs, missing out on the Play-Offs by just two points would be regarded as an achievement of sorts but obviously that's not the case at Gillingham. We may never know what was said behind the scenes but perhaps he was set a target of promotion or bust, and when expectations are that high you know the risk of being dismissed at the end of the season is high.

The Gills have a large fan base, a tidy stadium and a fine history so it's understandable that they want to be at least a division higher. You'd expect them to be there or thereabouts in npower League 2 - and they were all season - but falling short by such a small margin clearly isn't acceptable to the board.

I know Andy, and he's a proper football man. As a player and as a manager he's always been one of those one hundred percenters who will fight and compete fiercely for everything he gets.

Chairman Paul Scally has gone on record as saying that he'd like Andy to stay on as their head of football strategy but I just don't know if that will hold the same appeal. He likes to get his shorts on and do his work on the training ground with players, and although I might be proved wrong, I just don't see him in a more technical role. I'll be fascinated to see what his next move in the game will be, because in my opinion he still has a lot to offer.

Before we get to the Play-Offs I must also say a few words about the FA's decision to hand Aldershot striker Danny Hylton an eight-match ban and a £1,000 fine, after finding him guilty of two charges of racial abuse, dating back to a match against Barnet in October.

This is a very good decision by the FA.

Players, managers, and fans all know that racism in football must not be tolerated, and with all the campaigns that go on each season there is no excuse for failing to respect the rules and general code of honour in the game.

Hylton's been found guilty and he only has himself to blame. He deserves to be hit very hard for what he's done and I have no doubts that an eight match suspension will sting him badly.

It's vital that football sends out the right message, and a strong message, that racist abuse is totally unacceptable. In my view, the powers that be have got this one just about right.

As for those Play-Off semi-finals, my prediction of a Southend United versus Torquay United final isn't looking too rosy after the pair lost their respective first legs - but I do believe there is plenty of life left in both of those ties.

I watched the matches on TV and thought Cheltenham Town played very well in particular. It helped them when Rene Howe had to leave the pitch, as he's a serious threat, but it was a fine performance nevertheless.

You have to make Cheltenham favourites at 2-0 up but we've seen advantages like that disappear quickly in the past, so don't rule Martin Ling's men out just yet. The tie is definitely not dead.

As for Crewe Alexandra and Southend, Steve Davis' side were worthy winners at Gresty Road on Saturday evening.

I thought the movement of Nick Powell and AJ Leitch-Smith was different class up front and it helped Crewe dominate for large swathes of the game, playing some lovely attractive football too it has to be said.

Southend didn't show up, and will surely not play as poorly again in front of a big crowd at Roots Hall. A 1-0 lead can be overturned in a flash, so just like the other semi-final it's very much still alive!