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Gillingham 1 Cambridge United 0: Highlights of Gills' win at Priestfield and reaction from manager Neil Harris as Vadaine Oliver scores late winner

Manager Neil Harris hasn’t had a lot of time on the training ground with his Gillingham team so was delighted to see a set-piece move pay off.

The Gills’ 86th minute winner came from a corner routine and was tapped home by Vadaine Oliver. The 1-0 victory over Cambridge United sees the gap to safety in League 1 shrink to five points.

Harris said: “The set-play we worked on in training worked. Sometimes at this level and the level above it can come down to those fine margins, a set-play, a 35-yarder, an own goal or something and when we had to dig in we did and credit to the players for that. I was really pleased with the goal for Vadaine.”

The game looked to be heading for a goalless draw before the Gills ramped up the pressure late on.

Assessing the 90 minutes, Harris said: “It was bitty, the pitch was awkward, conditions weren’t great, as we find quite often here especially in an evening game at Priestfield.

“It was two competitive sides. We were okay for 25 minutes and probably the better team, some good passages of play, passing the ball and then they grew into the game and showed some of the qualities that got them through to the fourth round of the FA Cup and also some really big scalps in the division this year.

Olly Lee in control for Gillingham Picture: Barry Goodwin
Olly Lee in control for Gillingham Picture: Barry Goodwin

“I felt at half-time we needed to tinker with the shape, the lads have been great but we are missing some attacking players. We made a tactical adjustment and credit goes to the players, delivering it, we were fortunate to have quality and experience with the midfield three out there and they delivered the game plan.”

Harris went to a flat three in midfield and with Olly Lee, Ben Thompson and Stuart O’Keefe, he had players with plenty of knowhow to adjust.

He said: “We have found a way to win a game and I can only praise my players, they have dug in.

“We grew stronger in the last 15 minutes. Ben Thompson had a great shot, a couple of little scrambles, corners, then ultimately the goal to win us the game and if we win like that from now to the end of the season I will accept that.

Vadaine Oliver chases down the ball Picture: Barry Goodwin
Vadaine Oliver chases down the ball Picture: Barry Goodwin

“You have to respect your opponent and the fact that Cambridge are a good side, they have had a brilliant season so far and I am sure they will continue that. You have to respect they have good players.

“You want to be in top for the 90 minuets but it is never going to happen, it doesn’t happen in professional football, we were on top for 15-30 minutes, they had 15 minutes, then we have to dig in and rely on our shape and be tactically smart on the sideline. When you have got Ben, Stuart and Olly in midfield you can adjust and it is a dream for me. We were able to engage the ball a bit higher up the pitch and then ultimately they had less attacks and it gave us the confidence to go and win the game.”

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