Published: 18:00, 07 December 2019
| Updated: 08:44, 08 December 2019
Gillingham left it late to clinch the win over Sunderland but it was nothing less than the team deserved, said boss Steve Evans.
And Evans had every confident in Connor Ogilvie sticking the ball away when it fell to him with a minute of the match remaining.
“We deserved to win the game,” said Evans.
“I thought we dominated the play.
“Our instructions to the player at half-time was that we might have to go to the very end. We were facing a team fighting for themselves, fighting for the club, the fans, their own contracts.
“We missed a couple of opportunities across the box and things but the minute if fell to Connor I thought he could score.
“He's a centre back playing left-back for us and we see most weeks in open play now what fantastic ability and great desire he has.
“When he spins (in the box for the shot) he is not going to worry about people flying in to challenge him, to tackle him with boots coming studs up, which is what happens in the tightness of the penalty area.
“I expected him to score but I probably didn’t expect him to put it into the top corner!”
The goal was scored infront of the Rainham End, sparking big celebrations with players and fans.
Evans said: “The scenes afterwards reminded me of some of the special days I have had. I turned round to walk back and have a drink of water and all of my substitute and staff are running past me!
“I looked to the Rainham End and they were on top of them as well, it was a great way to win a game.”
Prior to the goal it looked to be heading towards a goalless draw, with both teams frustrated at not getting a goal.
Brandon Hanlan had an effort ruled out in the opening half after the ball appeared to have crossed the line, while Sunderland’s Charlie Wyke was denied a goal after a foul on keeper Jack Bonham, prior to him heading into the net.
Sunderland fans had already got their pyrotechnics out and were celebrating wildly before the linesman signalled to the referee that there had been an infringement by Luke O’Nien.
On those incidents, Evans said: “We’ve looked back at the video and the still picture, Brandon’s header was clearly over the line.
“Their goal was a clear foul on Jack Bonham, I didn’t see it at the time, I thought they had scored, but the fourth official immediately turned to me and said ‘no goal’, while Sunderland players and staff were still celebrating.
“‘No goal, clear foul,’ the assistant referee said it three times to the referee, next thing I look the referee is going over to the assistant so I knew it wasn’t a goal.”
It’s the second win over Sunderland for the Gills in the last few weeks, having already beaten them in the FA Cup. The Black Cats were followed to Kent by 1,300 fans and Evans was impressed.
He said: “We were dominant against what I think is an outstanding football club and I was amazed how many supporters travelled with them.
“The Gills fans applauded those who travelled and I joined in myself because I don’t see many travel in numbers like that in the away end here, forgetting that, I thought we dominated the play.
“I think it would be rather harsh if they didn’t go back and think Gillingham deserved to win.”
More by this authorLuke Cawdell