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Gillingham 1 Charlton 3: Match reaction from Gills manager Neil Harris

Gillingham manager Neil Harris felt his side should have scored “four or five” past Charlton on Tuesday after a dominant first half performance.

The Gills bounced back from conceding a first minute goal, equalising from Will Wright’s free-kick and creating plenty more chances. A lack of cutting edge meant the teams went into the break level and Charlton scored twice more in the second half.

Gillingham manager Neil Harris watched his side boss the first half against Charlton Picture: Keith Gillard
Gillingham manager Neil Harris watched his side boss the first half against Charlton Picture: Keith Gillard

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“First half was excellent,” said the Gills boss. “Take out the first minute, 53 seconds in, when we got cut open, but the next 44 minutes was outstanding. We should have scored four or five, comfortably.

“I said to the guys afterward, three goals we gave away, and a couple of sloppy moments that could have led to other moments, i.e the penalty (which Glenn Morris saved from Alfie May). Schoolboy defending, we didn’t defend our goal well enough and at the other end we weren’t clinical enough.

“Ultimately, if we want to be a top side this year we have to make sure we are hard to beat one end and defend our goal and are clinical at the other.

“Inbetween, there was so much good stuff, first half excellent, second half Charlton were good, they built confidence with the goals at the start of the second half and we lost our way a little and a little bit of confidence.

“We made changes. They are bringing on under-21/23 players that have played a lot of football and I am bringing on 17 year-olds again and it was a bit of a miss-match but an excellent exercise, that’s the main thing and a lot of people got through good minutes.”

Former Gills transfer target Alfie May started for Charlton, opting to sign for the League 1 side earlier this month. His ball through to Tyreece Campbell led to the early opener.

Will Wright’s goal from a free-kick levelled it up but two quickfire goals early in the second half put Charlton in charge and the Gills never showed that same sparkle as they did in the first half.

The home crowd certainly liked what they saw in the opening half.

Harris said: “It wasn’t just us coming from a goal behind and scoring a good free-kick, it was just the fact that we built the play really well, moved the ball well, got into really good areas.

“We ran past them a lot, we looked the dominant side, with and without the ball. Our shape was good but second half we lost our way - between the 45 and 60-minute mark.

“If you don’t get your shape right without the ball against top sides they hurt you.

“We’ve used these games as pre-season exercises to get after the ball but we won’t do that all season, we can’t go and press everything like we have in the last two games, you have to be clever with it.

“In the last two games [the Gills lost 2-0 to Millwall on Saturday], where we have got it slightly wrong, we have been punished and I don’t expect that to be happening in League 2.”

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