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Gillingham 0 Accrington Stanley 2: Manager Steve Evans blasts poor defending and finishing after Priestfield defeat


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Gillingham manager Steve Evans delivered another half-time rocket to his team but says poor finishing and defensive mistakes led to their downfall.

Evans was frustrated at seeing his team gift Accrington a free header to take the lead during a disappointing first half but then when they got into their stride after the turnaround the finishing let them down, along with a sloppy second goal.

Vadaine Oliver attempts an overhead kick Picture: Barry Goodwin
Vadaine Oliver attempts an overhead kick Picture: Barry Goodwin

The Gills had done something similar at Doncaster on Saturday, turning in a poor first 45 before improving after the break. Gillingham striker John Akinde had their best chance to level but failed to take the chance and moments later Accrington added a killer second.

Speaking after Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat, Evans said: “One of the players said, ‘does it take the gaffer to come in and have a right go, for us to start playing?’ It seems that way because it was the same at Doncaster.

“Players were talking about the paint coming off the walls (at half time) and we could have probably been heard in the stands but that is not how we play as a team, not how we played last year, not like my team has played for years.

"My last words to the players was that they could do something about it, because the opposite, which is to do nothing, is not thinkable.

“Gills fans are honest people, what would they say about the first half? Accrington were better than us, agreed, they passed it better than us, agreed, they were stronger than us in physical challenges, agreed, scored a goal because we didn’t pick up a simple corner, man for man, agreed. Second half they have got to say we were outstanding in spells, we missed big chances and they will say the second goal was a shambles.”

Speaking about those key moments, Evans criticised one of his players for failing to mark his man on the corner which led to the opener on 44 minutes. Colby Bishop scored with a free header from a corner.

Evans said: “There was lots of effort in the first half. Accrington have a good side and they had more of the ball, they are more technical than we are, but they didn’t hurt us until the goal. If someone doesn’t do their job properly and then walks into the dressing room and says ‘sorry, I gambled and went somewhere else.’ well, that is under-10s, not professional football.

“Second half the boys were excellent, we played all the football, opened them up and made chances, but we missed a couple of easy chances, for me. Oliver puts one wide of the post and Big John should score. The goalkeeper gets a good hand to it but I think he should have hit it slightly earlier.

“John is a natural goalscorer and his statistics tell you that, but he should score.”

Captain Kyle Dempsey looks for a chance Picture: Barry Goodwin
Captain Kyle Dempsey looks for a chance Picture: Barry Goodwin

Moments later the Gills were caught out with a second goal for Accrington.

“It’s concentration levels, that is all it can be,” Evans said.

“It is dreadful but that is an individual thing rather than a team thing.

“Tommy’s scuffed a clearance, Drysdale I don’t know what he does, loses possession in the box and Jack Tucker doesn’t pick a striker up, he picks space up.

Striker Dominic Samuel is stretchered off Picture: Barry Goodwin
Striker Dominic Samuel is stretchered off Picture: Barry Goodwin

“We had two defenders in there versus one striker and he tapped it in because we didn’t pick him up. It’s centre backs marking space and we have done that too often this season. We have tried to work on it in training and we will continue to try and work on it and if they don’t do it we will get people in who can do it.

“No team in League 1 should be conceding those goals. You can’t give someone a free header, you can’t slip over and you can’t not mark a man.

“I am not going to complain about the second half, we had all the ball, I could look at my strikers because we missed a series of chances at a key stage and if you don’t take them you get punished and that’s what has happened.”

Colby Bishop gets the better of Gillingham defender Declan Drysdale Picture: Barry Goodwin
Colby Bishop gets the better of Gillingham defender Declan Drysdale Picture: Barry Goodwin

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Report: Gillingham 0 Accrington Stanley 2

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