Published: 18:00, 18 January 2020
| Updated: 10:25, 19 January 2020
Gillingham manager Steve Evans was all set to ring the changes before getting a second half reaction against Oxford United.
Evans wasn’t pleased with the Gills’ first half showing and told his players that he would be utilising all three of his subs in one hit if nothing improved.
Reacting to the 1-1 draw, Evans commented: “I said at half-time I don’t know what players we have got here, I think a number of them had their brothers turning up to play.
“Second half we said, ‘give us a response and a reaction’. They are good players and we reminded them of the positives of the last number of weeks and they did that to be fair.
“I had to lift the dressing room a little bit, I had to be quite strong, quite vocal, reminding them what has put them on this run and it was about being on the front foot and picking the right pass, the right the way of passing, the right tempo, pressing the life out of the opposition.
“I said to them (during the interval) I could make three changes to the outfield but we’re not, we will stick with it, we will wait 10 minutes and then we will make three changes at one time unless they give us a cause not to.
“I was full of praise afterwards and said that if we played like that for 95 minutes, which is easy for the manager to say, we would beat Oxford, it is simple as that, but if you take the totality of the game, I think I’ll wake up in the morning and be thinking a point shared is a probably deserved for both teams.”
Picking apart the first half, Evans said: “We seemed a yard off the pace, we didn’t have any composure, we didn’t pick the right pass, it was over-hit or under-hit.
“We probably stood off them and maybe as a management team we were a little to blame, maybe we spoke to glowingly in terms of how good a side Oxford are.
“They had to score a special goal, from a real special talent. It’s a great goal but Stuart (O’Keefe) should have done better. We had identified what this kid could do, we said about him coming inside.
“Apart from a couple of long free-kicks into the box, just before half-time, they have not made another chance, but granted probably up until then we missed the two best chances of the game but didn;t take them and we were still disappointed.”
The Gills managed to equalise just after the hour with Olly Lee showing composure from the spot.
Evans said: “He is very composed and I’ve watched him in a few big, high-tempo games. He is a stunning technical player.
“First half he wasn’t in the game, he got caught when he was in the middle of the back four and he said he got caught in two minds and put his hands up immediately in the dressing room, that is what we also love about him, he is honest and committed and he covered every blade of grass in the second half, as they all did, I have no complaints.”
More by this authorLuke Cawdell