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Crewe Alexandra 1 Gillingham 1: Reaction from Gills boss Neil Harris as Mikael Mandron scores against his former club in League Two match

Manager Neil Harris admitted to having sleepless nights over his striker selection so was pleased to see his pick net after 12 minutes on Saturday.

Two goals in a midweek EFL Trophy match put Lewis Walker in the picture but Harris decided to keep faith with his regular strike pairing of Mikael Mandron and Scott Kashket - two former Crewe players.

Gillingham manager Neil Harris admitted choosing his strikers was tough. Picture: KPI
Gillingham manager Neil Harris admitted choosing his strikers was tough. Picture: KPI

Mandron headed in Shaun Williams’ corner to put Gills ahead against his former team and Kashket was stood in front of the keeper to help his team-mate out. Crewe hit back to level and the match ended 1-1.

Harris said: “A lot of people might have thought I would go with Lew because he scored two in the week, I have to be honest, I had not slept great over making the decision between the three.

“I went with Scott and Mikael because, partly, I know what it's like to play against your former club, I know Mikael’s record against his former clubs is very, very good. I also thought they showed glimpses last week against Sutton and in the first hour against Hartlepool and definitely against Swindon, with 10 men, they are building a partnership.

“Lew did exceptionally well on Tuesday night, he is earning our trust, it's a big thing for centre-forwards to earn the trust of their manager and the group, he is learning the game all the time. I have been very patient with him and he is being patient as well, but he is coming along nicely, it's a healthier position for me to be in knowing that my front players are starting to look a threat.”

Kashket was awarded the goal in some quarters, having attempted to backheel Mandron’s downward header into the net, but missed. It was definitely Mandron’s goal, according to the manager. It’s now two goals in the league for Gills’ No.9 to add to his effort in the League Cup.

“It's definitely Mika’s goal,” he said. “Kash has been honest enough to say he didn’t touch it, I would have been pleased for either of them to score but really pleased for Mika, he has had three or four disallowed this season already so it's nice for him to score.

“We started the game so well, got ourselves in front and could have scored again before they did. You are always disappointed when you concede, the fella has found the bottom corner from 20 yards. I think we can be slightly better to stop that opportunity, but then I thought after that, we had the better chances first half.

“I don’t really remember Glenn (Morris, the goalkeeper) having to make a save, at all over the 90 minutes, we were at our best when we kept the ball simple, when we tried to complicate it we gave it away cheaply and we gave them an opportunity to penetrate us. But other than that, I thought there was some really good stuff from us.”

Harris was pleased to have come away with something to show for their efforts.

He said: “It’s a good point, we've gone to Crewe, a team that are okay, they have had a solid start so it’s another point gained, I think on balance on play around the box, areas we got into and being in front as well, I'm a bit disappointed we didn’t get three.

“We can’t just roll into Crewe and expect to win the game because we had two wins before, but beating Sutton and getting a point here on the back of a hard-earned point at Hartlepool, my philosophy is if you can’t win a game, don’t get beat.”

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