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Doncaster Rovers 2 Gillingham 1: Gills boss Steve Evans reacts to defeat at the Keepmoat

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Manager Steve Evans said some of his Gillingham players didn’t put enough effort in as a poor first half against Doncaster left them playing catch-up.

Evans said he considered using his full quota of five substitutes during the break on Saturday in a bid to get the Gills firing. He used two which made a difference and got them a goal back but they then conceded again almost immediately.

“We never showed up first half,” Evans said.

“We seemed to be devoid of everything we are good at, working hard, holding the ball, passing the ball, moving it, chasing it, winning it, the whole thing. It was a really poor performance and I was glad to go in only 1-0 down.

“My plan when I went into the dressing room was to make five changes. You start to analyse how to get back into the game and I made two changes and it worked. We went out and laid siege to their goal, we got the goal and then one or two switch off.

“We gave it away cheap on the edge of their box but Dominic Samuel should be able to play a one-two on the edge of their box not worried about them breaking away from it and scoring and that’s what they did.

“Robbie (McKenzie) gets sucked into the boy out wide and it leaves a gap in the middle of the pitch and that is disappointing but we can work on that in training.”

Gillingham had a lot more about them in the second half but eventually left with nothing.

Evans said: “Territorially we were dominant (in the second half) and all of the play was in their half. They are going to have the odd counter attack when they are going to overload us, we are chasing the game, but you can see Darren (Moore, the Doncaster manager) and their staff shouting for the goalkeeper to kill it, to take his time.

“They took it into the corners in the last few minutes and that was evident of how much better we were second half but if you take into totality then they probably deserve to win the game, because of how poor we were first half.

“First half we didn’t run about. I said to the group, if they don’t want to work hard and run about, they are never going to win a match. I think they (Doncaster) got a shock second half with how good we were. Second half was long for them like the first half was long for us. Darren had 11-14 players and every one of them gave him a full shift. I had eight in the first half and 11 in the second.

“We had two or three players out there who probably think they have the shirt now and are entitled to play in it and are going to play in it. We will find out on Tuesday (Accrington) won’t we.

“When people run about and work hard, we become a difficult team to play against. The first half we had no quality, we sat off them, we probably gave them too much respect, thinking we were playing Real Madrid, not Doncaster.

“When we did get the chance to pass it our quality was poor, when we did get a chance to close people down with a bit of pace and tenacity and a bit of aggression we had none of it but I cannot fault what I saw in the second half.

“In the end we were unfortunate to lose the game but we should have been out of it at half time.”

Report: Doncaster 2 Gillingham 1

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