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Gillingham boss Martin Allen rues first-half display in 2-1 defeat to Port Vale in League 2

Gillingham v Port Vale

Gills battle in vain as Port Vale hold on for the points. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gillingham boss Martin Allen was disappointed with his side's slow start against Port Vale.

Allen’s side conceded two early goals and were unable to get back on level terms.

He said: “We were disappointed not to get anything out of it. We had a terrific performance in the second half and created numerous chances to try and get the equaliser, but you would have to say you don’t want to be 2-0 down in the first place.”

The Gills were a goal behind after just three minutes as League 2’s leading scorer, Tom Pope, pounced.

“It is always disappointing to concede a goal," said Allen.

"We pride ourselves on having good discipline. We do work on the training ground which we then take on to the football field and we highlight all the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses and, of course, Pope is a danger. We are all aware of his scoring record.

“He is a danger on the back post. But we weren’t able to defend it.”

Lee Hughes was on target with the second goal 18 minutes later.

Allen said: “From 2-0 down it’s a tough call and hard for the players, because they could hide and they could go under, but thankfully our players came back and gave everything they’ve got. A brilliant goal from Danny Kedwell set it up.

“I fully expected us to win in the second half to be honest and we had numerous chances. There was a goalmouth melee right at the end, where it was cleared off the line, twice I think from where I was stood, but it wasn’t to be.

“We have said that a few times now and so we are going to have a look at it and try and improve it. We have to work out why and how we can improve ourselves and I include myself in that, all of us, we can be better here in front of our fans.”

Defeat for the Gills saw Vale leapfrog them at the top of the table.

“Had we won we would have been five points clear with a game in hand and that would have definitely been significant, there is no doubt about that,” said Allen.

“We have had a setback, after two fantastic performances away from home, but we now need to dust ourselves down, rest the players and get them back together.

"Together we will chat about the game before we start preparing for Rochdale (next weekend). We have to improve what we do here (at Priestfield).”

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