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Colchester 0 Gillingham 1: Reaction from Gills’ assistant coach Robbie Stockdale after League 2 victory

Gillingham’s management team got the response they were looking for after asking for an increase in tempo at half-time of their game at Colchester.

The Gills came out with a real urgency as Oli Hawkins and Shad Ogie saw efforts hit the frame of the goal either side of Scott Malone’s opener, which turned out to be the winner.

Gillingham assistant coach Robbie Stockdale spoke to the press after victory over Colchester United Picture: @Julian_KPI
Gillingham assistant coach Robbie Stockdale spoke to the press after victory over Colchester United Picture: @Julian_KPI

Report: Colchester 0 Gillingham 1Gillingham assistant coach Robbie Stockdale expected a tough last game of a busy festive period.

Stockdale said: “It is always a difficult game, the last one in this block, because you have a lot tired bodies and it is very strenuous on the players. We picked up a few injuries in the week, with a couple of changes to the starting XI.

“I always think this game in particular is a difficult one to judge. You always turn it over in your mind as a manager and staff as to whether you need to make more changes to the starting XI to freshen it up, or because we played well against Sutton (winning 1-0 on Friday) do you roll the players out again?

“You are not quite sure what you’re going to see. I thought first half was a game that looked like two teams at the end of a busy schedule. A couple of words were spoken at half-time, just in terms of ‘can we lift our tempo?’

“First 20-25 minutes we were really good and thought we could have been two or three goals to the better.”

The Gills did have some good chances in the opening half, including a shot from Dom Jefferies that was saved after just three minutes. Joe Taylor put an even better opportunity wide for the hosts.

Stockdale said: “First half, I thought it was fairly even and in terms of chances we had the better of them. They had one really good chance that the boy missed on the back stick, but apart from that it was counter attack that we were worried about.

“We spoke at half-time about increasing our intensity and the tempo of our play and the first 20-25 minutes of the second half we were very good and probably should have scored more than the one goal that we did. They are going to have a spell at some point at 1-0 and I thought we defended well.

“You are always wanting the second goal, but in relative terms I felt comfortable in the way that we were defending, the substitutes came on and applied themselves very well, we slightly changed formation to see it out at the end and possibly could have scored another ourselves on the counter attack.

“We’ve had a clean sheet away from home and it is getting us in the right direction but there is still a lot more to come from this group of players.

“We’ve won a couple of games and I don’t think we are anywhere near the finished article of what the players are capable of, on the back of a couple of results where we should have done better and where I didn’t think we were as bad as everyone though we were.

“It is a work in progress, the effort from the players is fantastic, a slight change of shape in the last two or three games and they’ve really taken it on board.

“Every game throws up different challenges. Sutton were very direct and went down to 10 men. We had to be patient to break them down and I thought we did that well, this one was a different game.

“Colchester try and play from the back and play football, there are times when you’re not going to see the ball for a little bit so it was important that we had our shape right against the ball.”

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