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Cheltenham Town 2 Gillingham 2: Match highlights and reaction from Gills boss Neil Harris after the League 1 draw

Gillingham manager Neil Harris viewed it as a point gained at Cheltenham.

His side twice had the lead and hit the post in stoppage-time as the match ended 2-2. The point was enough to see the Gills climb out of the bottom four, a place above of Fleetwood, who they play on Monday.

Gillingham manager Neil Harris was proud of his players on Friday Picture: KPI
Gillingham manager Neil Harris was proud of his players on Friday Picture: KPI

Commenting on the draw, Harris said: “I think it was a fair reflection of the balance of play and the chances at both ends. Aaron (Chapman, the Gills goalkeeper) made a couple of really good saves for us, but we scored two good goals, hit the underside of the bar and the post in added-on time so there is an element of disappointment in me.

“When you are leading twice you want to see the game out but my players can give me no more than they are at the moment, I am proud of the players and we have to look at it as a point gained.”

It was a topsy-turvy afternoon which had seen the Gills and their relegation rivals swap places through the 90-plus minutes of action. Harris’ men ended the day better placed than they started.

Harris had enough to cope with on the sidelines, however.

He said: “It was nervy during the game, a rollercoaster of emotions, for the players and the manager and the coaching staff on the sidelines.

“During the game I am not aware of other games, I don’t know when there there are ups and downs in that, all I can focus on is my players and again, we had issues again leading in to the game.”

Captain Stuart O’Keefe travelled but couldn’t shake off his injury. Ben Reeves came in as a starter and scored a classy second goal, bending the ball home from the edge of the box.

“I can’t quite believe he got as long out there as he did,” said the manager.

“The lads did great to dig in, then just when you think we are digging in and holding out, defending our box (at 2-2), we get up the other end and almost nick it [Conor Masterson hit the post]. It is not going to be any different over the next 15 days.”

Vadaine Oliver had scored the first Gills goal on 14 minutes, which was cancelled out. Reeves got the second to make it 2-1 but against Cheltenham fought back.

“They were great finishes,” he said, of his team's goals. “The first goal comes from a second phase of a set-play and it was striker’s instinct. People will see the quality of finish into the roof of the net but look at V’s movement, his awareness to drop back onside to then get the finish in.

“He is a striker I work with every day and I see the confidence and the growing belief in him and the fact that he is our talisman carries a lot on his shoulders within our group, I was really pleased for him to get on the scoresheet.

“I played Ben Reeves because I felt he deserved to play and he showed his quality didn’t he? He just needs that one moment and he can deliver a finish like that.”

And on the goals against, Harris wanted to see a replay of the first again but the second was a simple set-piece corner.

He said: “The second one we have conceded from set-play and hopefully it's the last. They are really good at them but we can do better.”


Gillingham still nearly won it at the death when Conor Masterson struck the woodwork.

Harris said: “Since I have been here I don’t think we have had the rub of the green and I don't think we have had an ounce of luck, I said to the boys, keep believing something will fall for us.

“We conceded in the 96th minute at Sunderland, we have hit the woodwork at different times, at key times, it just hasn’t fallen for us and we have to keep believing that luck will change.

“If you are not getting the luck then you have to put in the performances and the desire to win games. Did I think it was in? It was a great strike and it might just have found its way in, the ball was moving from left to right, it would have been testament to the fans who travelled to have seen that in the last minute but again, what have they seen? The lads gave their all and it was a proud Gillingham performance.”

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