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Gillingham boss Steve Evans salutes Premier League class as his team beat Blackpool late on

“That was Premier League” beamed Gills boss Steve Evans after a dramatic winner at Blackpool.

In a thrilling finale at Bloomfield Road the Gills looked to have thrown away three points after conceding in the 91st minute but Brandon Hanlan headed home Tom O’Connor’s corner with just seconds left to snatch the win.

Gillingham celebrate after Regan Charles-Cook puts them 2-1 up Picture: Ady Kerry (28979660)
Gillingham celebrate after Regan Charles-Cook puts them 2-1 up Picture: Ady Kerry (28979660)

Report: Blackpool 2 Gillingham 3

“It would have been a travesty if it had finished 2-2,” said the Gills manager.

“I have not run down a touchline for a while!

“You go from the depths of why they have equalised, how they have equalised, people say it was offside but you never know because you are not in line with it. The fourth official doesn’t have a clue when you ask him, we don’t have a clue.

“To have that reaction, to have three or four passes and a shot at goal that goes for a corner and the delivery from the corner is absolutely Premier League class. It’s a Premier League corner and a Premier League header.”

Hanlan was the man in the right place to head home O’Connor’s 95th minute delivery.

It capped a great second half fightback, having gone 1-0 down after a poor first half.

“I was delighted with the second half,” Evans said.

“First half we looked a little lethargic, like we hadn’t worked hard enough on the system of play and we couldn’t work on it much because we had to come up on the coach early Monday. We made the long trip up and nothing changes with the Football League, thank you for giving us such a long journey.

“We had strong words at half-time, not in a negative way, but we changed it, we freshened it up and changed the system and I thought we were much better in the second half, we controlled it and we deserved to win.”

Evans admitted the first 45 was as poor as they had been in some time.

But at 1-0, there was always a chance.

Reacting to Blackpool’s seventh minute opener, he said: “We weren’t at our sharpest defensively on the right hand side but they get infront and then we are limping through to half-time.

“We made changes and second half we were by far the better team.

“I remember a brilliant through ball from Jordan Roberts (to create Gills’ equaliser). He’s probably one of few on the pitch who can turn and swivel and put a ball through like that and John Akinde puts it in, which John does.

“We then took the ascendancy and got an absolutely outstanding goal. Regan Charles-Cook scores with a brilliant chest volley and I amdelighted for the kid because he is working so hard.”

Gills were 2-1 up but conceded an equaliser in the 91st minute.

Evans said: “I don’t know if their goal was offside in stoppage time, it looked it, but when we showed character.

“Tom O’Connor produced a corner you would see in the Premier League and it was a brilliant header from Brandon. We deserved to win without being at our best.”


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