Jake Hessenthaler felt Gillingham should have taken something from their Boxing Day clash against Leyton Orient
Gills midfielder Jake Hessenthaler in action against Leyton Orient Picture: Barry Goodwin
Midfielder Jake Hessenthaler felt the Gills could take pride in defeat.
League Leaders Leyton Orient came from a goal down to beat Gillingham at Priestfield – winning the match in the 90th minute.
It was a frustrating end to the game but 19-year-old Hessenthaler believes the side can take plenty of encouragement from the Boxing Day showing.
He said: “We worked so hard in the first half and had we taken our chances it could have been game over before the second half. These things happen.
“We need to start trying to finish games earlier and not to concede late goals because we are prone to that at the moment and we need to get rid of it.
“The lads’ work-rate was unbelievable again but we just didn’t have any luck on our side again.
“They are top for a reason and we can be proud and take a lot of positives out of the game. We matched them for most of the game and we deserved a point at least. I think we deserved more than that.”
The Gills made a great start to the game, with Adebayo Akinfenwa putting the hosts infront early on from a Hessenthaler corner.
“We got told to get in their faces early and not to let them have an easy ride of it,” said the teenager.
“We did that and got the goal early, which was very deserved and we could have had a couple more before they had their penalty miss. It was just one of those things and had we taken our chances then it would be a different story.”
Jake Hessenthaler has become a regular in the Gills first team Pic: Barry Goodwin
Hessenthaler was making his fourth straight league start, having proved he can more than handle League 1. He got his chance with injuries but with Amine Lingnzi and Chris Whelpdale both edging closer to fitness, he will be under pressure from the more senior pros.
“I know that and I need to keep on my toes every game,” he said. “If you drop your levels you are going to be out the door and not playing. If you want to play you need to play well.
“I set myself my own targets and put pressure on myself to play well. My main goal is to play well.
“I’m taking it game by game and try and play as well as I can, get on the ball as often as I can and try and enjoy it. There is no point playing football if you don’t enjoy it and I just want t try and help the team as much as possible. If I am doing that and playing well then great.
“I got a chance and I needed to take it with both hands and I feel I have done that. I just want to try and take the team as high up the table as we can.”
Gills are back on home soil on Sunday, against Walsall – a team with a reputation for trying to play good football.
Jake Hessenthaler puts in a cross against Leyton Orient Pic: Barry Goodwin
Hessenthaler said: “They can pass it for fun and we want to try and do that ourselves.
“We need to try and get in their faces and start well early on like we did Boxing Day and take our chances. If we do that we can definitely match them and get the three points.”
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