Published: 18:00, 26 September 2020
| Updated: 19:29, 26 September 2020
Gillingham manager Steve Evans was expecting his team’s biggest test of the season on Saturday and that’s what he got. He also got three points.
Blackpool bossed the possession but struggled to find a way past the Gills defence. Evans’ side who won the game 2-0 thanks to an early poacher’s finish from new signing Dominic Samuel and a cracking strike from the same player to seal it.
“That is the best team we’ve played,” said Evans, having already tackled Hull City and Wigan Athletic, both of whom dropped out of the Championship last season.
“The one thing Neil (Critchley, the Blackpool manager) will be disappointed in is that if you get a lot of possession you have to be penetrative. I don’t think they found any gaps.
“We have worked hard since we got back at about 3am in the morning on Thursday (after playing Stoke City in the League Cup). Our defensive performance against Stoke was fantastic and we have replicated that. We had shape and we made it difficult for them.
“Their players don’t need help, they are really gifted, we will play against many more gifted footballers. We will continue to work hard on the training ground.
“I am really proud of them. They are kids in that dressing room. We were playing against a team who I think will be in the top six, they have some terrific players, but we were certainly on top for the first half hour and played some wonderful football.
“We started the second half really bright and got in behind them a couple of times. Dominic scored with a fantastic finish (to make it 2-0) after brilliant play from Vadaine Oliver, robbing the centre back and giving it to Dominic who scores with an absolute brilliant finish. The goalkeeper has no chance.
“We then had to battle. They knocked it about and I was really pleased.
“I was really pleased for Jack Tucker and Zech Medley (the central defenders). We have seen some inconsistency but they come up against young Jerry Yates, the kid I gave a league debut to at Rotherham and the boy CJ Hamilton who signed for a lot of money from Mansfield, they are wonderful players and the complement I give to my back four is that they never gave them a sniff.
“I watched a 65 minutes of their game against Plymouth a few weeks ago and they should have beaten them comfortably (Blackpool lost 1-0).
“They have a good manager who I have no doubt will go and manage at a very good level. He is a top coach. We have beaten a team who we knew would be organised, efficient, pass the ball and move it around, and at the end of the day we got three points.”
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