by Luke Cawdell
Martin Allen was left to question why his side under-performed so much in the first half against Barnet.
Gillingham didn’t really get going until they introduced three substitutes on the hour mark, and it made for a frustrating afternoon for Allen, pictured, and the fans alike.
He said: “It certainly wasn’t the Boxing Day I expected or hoped for.
“It was a disappointing first-half performance. I thought we stepped up well in the second half but I have got to ask myself and ask the players why we didn’t get going in that first.
“We were a yard short all over the pitch and didn’t zip the ball around like we can and how we like to do.”
A solitary 20th-minute strike for Barnet was enough for them to take all three points.
“With one shot we got punished,” said Allen. “They do play some good football and there is no doubt about it.
“It is difficult to face a team who gets it down and pops it around like they do with the extra man in midfield. But it is our job to counter that and put our own mark on the game and we never did that.”
The introduction of Chris Whelpdale, Jack Payne and Adam Birchall fired the Gills into life but the goals never came.
“We were very close to (changing it) at half-time to spark something off really,” said Allen.
“But I thought those players should get the chance to go out and turn it around themselves. The team did do better in the second half and when those players came on they did improve the team for sure.
“It is frustrating (to leave with nothing) but it is more frustrating because of that first-half performance. We all know we can play better than that.
"If you play really well and you don’t get any luck or breaks and you don’t manage to win then I’m fine with that, absolutely fine, but that first half, we are better than that.
"We play better football and we move it better, compete better, we run faster than what we did and that would be the disappointment.”