Published: 18:00, 13 February 2021
| Updated: 20:23, 13 February 2021
Steve Evans had the fans in mind when sending Gillingham out against Charlton with the aim of claiming the bragging rights from the local tussle.
There might not have been 1,400 fans behind them at The Valley but they weren’t far from their minds after clinching a 3-2 victory.
“We fancied ourselves and it is never about budgets, particular in derbies,” said the Gills boss.
“I reminded the players in the team-talk that the away end would have been absolutely bouncing with Gillingham supporters. I reminded them that they might not have been with us but they were watching and with us in spirit. It was about bragging rights and I put that across.
“The only thing missing for me was the away end packed and Gillingham fans singing but hopefully they will sing at home with a beer or a coffee and with a loved one.”
The Gills took a first minute lead through Olly Lee.
“We opened in great fashion,” said Evans. “We got that early goal which helped. We were quite commanding for a while other than when they played it long.
“They talked about us pre-game but they played it very long to Stockley and big Chuks Aneke. They are a handful. You have to find a way to deal with them and Cundy and Tucker (the central defenders) did.
“We hit some absolutely stunning strikes.”
The game was level at 2-2 after Connor Ogilvie’s strike was also cancelled out. Ogilvie had volleyed in from 20 yards.
When Aneke was sent off on 70 minutes the Gills had a man advantage and a slight reshuffle allowed them to make it count.
“When that happened I said to my staff, ‘relax, we will win the game.’ We changed the system, we played with a little bit more width, created a pocket of space for Kyle Dempsey to play in and he is a special talent.”
Dempsey hit the winner with four minutes left.
“It was a stunner,” said Evans. “He has power and purpose and if he gets in there then he will score.”
It wasn’t the best goal of the day, however, with Ogilvie’s one flying in from 20 yards on the volley.
Rounding up a frantic game, Evans said: “Our performance was excellent, really good in spells, we were sloppy on two or three occasions.
“We scored three really good goals, we feel their first one was offside, I have to look back, but they got back into the game with a great header from Jayden Stockley (at 2-2).
“We hit the bar and you think maybe the chance is gone after what we had delivered but Kyle Dempsey produces another piece of magic after what has got to be the goal of the season in the EFL for the Connor Ogilvie strike.
“We may as well just present him with the goal of the season trophy in training on Sunday!”