Published: 18:00, 01 January 2020
| Updated: 08:43, 02 January 2020
Gillingham manager Steve Evans says he needed to deliver a heated half-time team talk to get his team firing against Portsmouth.
His team responded, with a much better second 45 minutes, scoring an equaliser through Alex Jakubiak to claim a point from the League 1 match.
Evans said: “There were two parts to the game. There was the first half where I think Portsmouth were sharper to the ball than us, looked brighter and that perhaps they wanted it a bit more than us.
“They won the physical battles, they did a bit to us that we had done to others in recent times.
“They scored a good goal. Gareth Evans has played for me and it was a good finish but I can’t believe we haven’t had a penalty when Max Ehmer has put it over his head. It was a blatant handball but the referee said he got stuck behind traffic and couldn’t see it.
“I was as harsh as I had been to them in a few weeks, to be honest. I was harsh on them because we didn’t get the second balls and physically we weren’t where we needed to be.
“We were much the better team second half, more efforts on goal, we made positive changes and got a goal. We were unlucky not to get another and I don’t know why it is not a penalty on Mikael Mandron (gets pulled down in the box). Anywhere else on the pitch it’s a freekick, a lot of other referees would have said it was a penalty but we didn’t seem to get the rub of the green with some decisions.
“You have to take the point and it’s a point against a team that will certainly be competing for promotion come the end of the season.”
The Gills got their equaliser with 10 minutes left through Jakubiak, once again coming off the bench to make a positive impact.
Evans said: “Alex is like a lot a lot of the lads we have got, unlike other places I have been, where they talk about what they want to do, they just keep quiet and get on with it.
“I said to Alex before the game that he and Marshy were very unfortunate not to be coming into start, but said ‘if you get the opportunity to come on, make a difference.’ They did make a difference again.
“I thought the quality of our play was better in the second half, the intensity was better, we won second balls and we did to them second half what we did to them in the first.
“We look at the squad Portsmouth turn up with and who they can introduce off the bench, a bit like when we played Rotherham, a bit like when we played Oxford and Ipswich, like Sunderland when they had McGeady etcetera, you can see where the resources and the quality is.
“Our boys have given us everything and we are three points off the play-offs going into the new year.”