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Gillingham manager Steve Evans on perfect substitution against Wycombe Wanderers

Substitute Brandon Hanlan’s impact left some of his Gillingham team-mates in awe on Saturday.

Illness had got the better of Alex Jakubiak, meaning he was left on the bench, and he couldn’t believe how quickly the fellow striker managed to turn the game against Wycombe.

Gillingham's Mikael Ndjoli thanks Brandon Hanlan for his assist against Wycombe. Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham's Mikael Ndjoli thanks Brandon Hanlan for his assist against Wycombe. Picture: Ady Kerry

Hanlan, on the pitch for a matter of seconds, beat his marker with his first touch, used his power and pace to drive at goal and then delivered a cross for Mikael Ndjoli to convert, breaking the deadlock at Priestfield with 59 minutes gone.

Manager Steve Evans had Jakubiak in his ear straight afterwards.

Evans said: “I sat down immediately after we had scored the goal and Alex put his head over my shoulder and said, ‘that’s the most magical substitution I have ever seen!

“I said ‘thanks Alex’ but he then said, ‘I shouldn’t really say that because he is a striker and he had a little chuckle!”

Jakubiak is expected to be fit again for the trip to Bristol Rovers tomorrow (Tuesday) but may now find his route to the starting XI blocked.

Speaking about the substitution, Evans said: “You get some right and some wrong. Brandon (who replaced Mikael Mandron) gave them a real problem when he came on, he was a real handful.

“He is a different style to Mandron but he had to take a physical battering for 60 minutes to leave the gaps to appear for Brandon.

“There was no doubt that it had an immediate impact and helped us get infront.”

Mikael Ndjoli started the game and scored two goals. He was picked after Jakubiak went down with the virus that swept through the squad last week.

Hanlan has been named as a substitute in the last two games.

Gillingham fans celebrate against Wycombe on Saturday. Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham fans celebrate against Wycombe on Saturday. Picture: Ady Kerry

Evans said: “We said to Brandon, ‘here is an opportunity, you are coming on, the fans are desperate for us to win the game and win well’ and he helped us do that.”

Those fans were already ramping up the noise levels before the opening goal and Evans was delighted that they got behind his team when they needed it most.

He said: “As a player, coaching staff and football club, you need your supporters more when it’s 0-0, or you are a goal down.

“At 0-0, on 55 minutes, they were raising the roof. They were tremendous, all sides were at it and in fairness to Wycombe supporters, so were they. They were trying to back their team and it was a real good atmosphere.

“I have often spoken about the atmosphere here, when it it for you it is tremendous.”

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