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Reaction: Gillingham manager Steve Evans on the 1-0 win over Crewe Alexandra

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Gillingham boss Steve Evans admitted his side may have been second best on Tuesday night but it was about time their luck changed.

Better performances against some of the division’s leading lights in recent weeks have failed to produce points - or even a goal - but the Gills left Crewe 1-0 winners on Tuesday night after riding their luck in the opening half.

Evans said: “The players were relieved and they were buzzing afterwards because they knew we should have beaten Sunderland and Ipswich and Fleetwood, we should have drawn with Pompey as a minimum and there was the one bad performance against MK Dons. I am pleased for them.

“We said they would have to defend in numbers, defend heroically and be strong, and they did it. I was really pleased.

“Crewe will think they were unlucky but we have been unlucky for weeks and so let’s reverse that.”

Crewe had missed some great first half chances and started the second half on top too but John Akinde came off the bench and headed in what turned out to be the winner.

“I said to the players at half time it wasn’t good enough,” said the manager. “They knew it wasn’t and we could only improve. Crewe couldn’t have got much better, they pass it about and are very expansive, they play similar to MK Dons and playing that way has its assets if you score goals but a disadvantage if you don’t because you can get counter attacked and lose a lot of games.

“Dave Artell (the Crewe manager) is the most honest manager in the league and he says how it is. He has lost to us, Ipswich and Lincoln (in their last three games) and over the 90 minutes his side were the better team in all three games, better on the eye but the score says he has got beaten in every one.

“We have been there recently and we know how tough it is and unless you ate sitting there with multi millions and big budgets anyone can beat anyone.”

Gillingham had gone in to the match with five straight defeats and were desperate to turn their form around.

"It was important we won the game," Evans said.

"They were better than us in the first half, they had a couple of chances, we never settled or got playing at any stage. I think there was a penalty not given on Trae Coyle, he got a double hand in the back, but I spoke to the referee and he said to me in the tunnel at the end of the game he did think about giving it, well he didn’t think long enough!

"They started the second half on the front foot and were better than us and I said we needed another physical presence up the pitch, we brought John on, he did really well, scored a goal and we took command of the game for 10 minutes."

Tom O'Connor should have doubled the lead but headed a super Jordan Graham cross over the bar.

"It was a brilliant cross," said Evans. "I would struggle to name another player in the division who can cross like that. He had a few bad ones but we sad to him, 'it doesn’t matter if you don't cross with the quality that you normally do, just keep doing it and you will pick one.' He picked one and put it on Tommy O'Connor’s head, he got under it and headed like a defender!

"We then had to have a real shape and a discipline and we got to grips with them. They were then not a Crewe that I know. They are a brilliant team, they will do well, but we resorted them to putting balls into our box long and high and wide.

"(Jack) Tucker was more like himself, he was really strong, Connor (Ogilvie) proved how good he was in there second half, and it is a good performance, the two full backs were good. When you defend like that and get a clean sheet that’s the guys who get the plaudits."

Report: Crewe 0 Gillingham 1

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