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Gillingham boss Steve Evans on their FA Cup replay win over Sunderland

Gillingham boss Steve Evans got the reaction he wanted after a heated half-time team talk.

He asked for more quality from his side in the second half against Sunderland and they produced it, bossing the FA Cup first round replay following the restart.

Brandon Hanlan celebrates after scoring what proved to be the winning goal Picture: Ady Kerry (22060163)
Brandon Hanlan celebrates after scoring what proved to be the winning goal Picture: Ady Kerry (22060163)

The Gills finally got the winning goal in the 105th minute to set up a home second round tie against Doncaster Rovers on December 1.

Report: Gillingham 1 Sunderland 0

Evans said: “First half I wasn’t so happy, it was more of a battle rather than getting the ball down and playing.

“We needed a reaction second half which we got.

“We should have won the second half quite comfortably, the stats back that up. The quality of play was good, we got the ball down and started to penetrate properly.

“You go to extra-time, the boys are dominating, and we think 'do we make changes?' We just believed we were so far on top of the game we didn’t have to change anything, it could have had an adverse reaction and we got the goal.”

Prior to that Evans felt the Gills should have had a penalty, for a handball in the box. Most of the crowd thought so too.

“I don’t know why we didn’t get it,” he said, after Brandon Taylor had put arm to ball.

“I genuinely think the referee wanted to give it, he looked at the linesman 25 times!

“But I think we deserved to win the cup tie over the two games. We deserved to go through away at Sunderland (in the first game) and we certainly deserved to go through on Tuesday.”

Sunderland, twice winners of the FA Cup, were making excuses pre-match about a lack of players, with some on international duty and others injured.

Evans was having none of it.

He said: “You just have to look at the quality that they are bringing on from the bench. They can bring people like Aiden McGeady on. They are just outstanding players.

“The reality is that they were missing the two McLaughlins (goalkeeper Jon and defender Conor) and I don’t even think the goalkeeper would have played, I think Lee Burge would have played anyway, after McLaughlin’s mistake against us.

Connor Ogilvie is challenged by Aiden McGeady and felt he should have had a penalty Picture: Ady Kerry (22060161)
Connor Ogilvie is challenged by Aiden McGeady and felt he should have had a penalty Picture: Ady Kerry (22060161)

"The right-back might have played and Luke O’Nien might have pushed forward.

“But I had Mikael Mandron missing (with illness) and I had Tommy O’Connor (away with Republic of Ireland under-21s), two players who would be starting.

“They would probably make us stronger, more than the two they had missing.

“But my problems are not Sunderland’s, they have a good manager, very experienced and I am sure they will turn around the poor form. They will end up in the Championship because they are a superb football club, with amazing travelling support.

“We have beaten a good team but we have had to work so hard to do it.”

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