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Andy Hessenthaler bemoaned the “wonder strike” which sent his team to defeat on Tuesday night.
Gillingham competed well against Swindon at the County Ground but were undone by Matt Ritchie’s 80th-minute goal. Another fine effort, from Jonathan Smith, rubber-stamped the three points for the home side.
“It’s very disappointing to have lost and I thought the performance was terrific,” said Gills manager Hessenthaler.
“I couldn’t really have asked any more from the boys. In the first half their keeper made a great save from Whelpdale’s header, to tip it onto the bar. It dropped down and they did their job and defended properly to stop Jo Kuffour from scoring.
“Whelpdale also had a good strike in a good area in the first half but there wasn’t much in it. Second half we looked bright and took the game to them.
“Rooney, with the best bit of play in the game, hit the post. If that goes in then all-of-a-sudden they are chasing the game and it makes them a bit frustrated.
“In the end, ultimately, it was a wonder strike from the lad Ritchie. He is a handful and we knew if he comes inside he has a hell of a shot. Perhaps we should have done better with the clearance, but he did what he did, and it was a great strike.
“Sometimes they go in, sometimes they go over, but that wonder strike has cost us the game.”
The Gills had good chances, with Whelpdale hitting the bar with a header, before Rooney struck the post with a shot. At 1-0 down substitute Danny Kedwell, who was back from injury, missed an open goal from just a few yards out.
“He said it came across so quick from big Frank and he said he didn’t see it,” said Hessenthaler. “He got it tied up around his feet and that summed it up for us really. Sometimes you need a little luck.
“It was a good performance, not the right result, but more positives than negatives I felt.”
What do you think went wrong at Swindon? Comment below.
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