Published: 18:00, 28 September 2019
| Updated: 09:33, 29 September 2019
We looked all over the place, said boss Steve Evans, after Gillingham conceded three first half goals at Oxford United.
Those three were enough for the hosts, who then restricted the Gills to very little chances in the second half.
Evans said: “There was a gulf first half, in everything Oxford did and what we did, it was huge. It looked as if we had never worked on our shape of play, everything, we looked all over the place.
“We were grateful to get to half time at three-zero.
“We had started bright, after 10 minutes, really well, but they got a goal because we go chasing wrongly, it created the space for (James) Henry and he does what he does.”
Oxford had broken from what started off as a Gills corner but couldn’t win the ball back. Fouling Tariqe Fosu, who began the breakaway, would have stopped them in their tracks and Evans agreed.
He said: “Tommy (O’Connor) is naive isn’t he? He should just foul him. They did it with us five or six times second half, when we broke and they were very good at it.
“It’s a learning curve. They still have to get 80 yards up the pitch, there was still a lot to do. Ben Pringle gets drawn to the ball, he gets drawn across, and when you give Henry room he puts it where he wants to put it.”
The goal gave Oxford a lift and they dominated the rest of the half, scoring twice more.
“We had to bring in a bit more discipline and shape to our team,” said Evans, who made two changes in personnel and a switch of formation at the break.
“I think the players knew, they knew we looked all over the place, the gaps were all over the pitch, they were huge in their favour.
“We had to change it and we had that planned five or ten minutes before half time and we executed it. We talked them through it and it was very affective second half.
“I know they (Oxford) came down a bit but they are a good side and well done to them. We will go back on the training ground and we’ll work hard.
“We limited them to one half chance and we probably had the two best chances second half. Second half much better than first, that’s the only plus.”
More by this authorLuke Cawdell