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Gillingham manager Steve Evans said Portsmouth had nowhere to go after his team did their job at Fratton Park

Boss Steve Evans hailed his Gillingham side’s magnificent defensive display against Portsmouth.

The Gills held on for a goalless draw at Fratton Park.

Gills manager at Fratton Park as his team claim a point Picture: Kent Pro Images (19180349)
Gills manager at Fratton Park as his team claim a point Picture: Kent Pro Images (19180349)

Report: Portsmouth 0 Gillingham 0

Evans said: “We went with the intention of winning and we knew they were not in the best of form and at home it’s been a bit of an Achilles heel for them but any team that has Kenny Jackett as a manager is going to be organised and efficient.

“With that support they have it makes it tough but it is a point earned rather than two dropped.

“I thought defensively, in terms of our shape and how we played, it was a magnificent performance. They didn’t have anything to do when they had the ball. They had nowhere to go.

Alfie Jones keeps his man close as the Gills held Portsmouth to a goalless draw Picture: Kent Pro Images (19180338)
Alfie Jones keeps his man close as the Gills held Portsmouth to a goalless draw Picture: Kent Pro Images (19180338)

“We started working after Oxford (a 3-0 away defeat) on a particular style, a particular shape, in terms of playing out of possession and they have taken it onboard, apart from one header from a set play and that was the only disappointment.

“From an attacking point of view when we got in good areas we just took an extra touch, or ran into an extra body, but we were at least worthy of a point.”

Evans changed his side back around following a disappointing midweek trip to Ipswich in the EFL Trophy.

He said: “The majority of the team were not involved at Ipswich. We needed a freshness and we knew it was going to be a heavy pitch, it has been like that in recent times (at Portsmouth). They have left it a bit longer and so it becomes more difficult to get through but all over the pitch to a man we were really strong.

Stuart O'Keefe gets in a challenge for the Gills at Portsmouth Picture: Kent Pro Images (19180333)
Stuart O'Keefe gets in a challenge for the Gills at Portsmouth Picture: Kent Pro Images (19180333)

“I am very fortunate to see a lot of those Portsmouth players at first hand, a lot of them are gifted, but they found no gaps, nowhere to play and no free bodies. There was very little room for them to manoeuver.”

Gillingham broke out more in the second half, playing on the counter, but were unable to complete a smash and grab.

Evans said: “We had our best spell, probably three quarters the way through the match, a little period where we were attacking their goal and we got in to some good areas.

“The Gills fans were on their feet, we were anticipating a goal and so were they.

“The fans were outstanding. They will be going away scratching their heads wondering how we could defend against Oxford like we did and then defend like that. It was about the discipline of the performance.

“I criticised the players after Oxford but give them all the praise on Saturday.”

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