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Gillingham 2 Doncaster 2: Gills boss Steve Evans' reaction after draw at Priestfield


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Saturday’s result was a sickener for Gillingham boss Steve Evans after his side threw away a two-goal lead against Doncaster.

The Gills made a blistering start, scoring twice in the opening four minutes and although Doncaster fought back to level, Evans’ men bossed the second half and had chances to win it. The match ended 2-2.

Victory would have left the Gills sitting sixth - the final position of the play-off places.

“I feel sick,” Evans admitted after the game.

“We started the game in great form, a good finish from Jordan and a second goal (scored by Vadaine Oliver) straight off the training ground. There is a pivotal moment straight after from a corner when Robbie Cundy misses a simple chance to make it 3-0.

“We were still comfortable but then one of our centre backs doesn't pick up a boy from the second phase of a corner, then another of our centre backs gets rolled and second phase the ball gets stuck under his feet.

“In fairness to Doncaster, they caused us a few problems then, the confidence probably went from being on the floor to being really high, they caused us one or two problems and my message was ‘let’s get to half-time and regroup and we did that.

“Second half there was one team trying to win the game, one team with all the play, one team with all the corners, free-kicks and movement around the box and we created two big chances, one for Macca and one for Kyle. You would expect those players to score but in fairness to the Doncaster boys they put their bodies on the line and kept them out.

“We have nothing other than disappointment, simple as that, two points left behind.”

Gillingham midfielder Jordan Graham celebrates opening the scoring against Doncaster Picture: Andy Jones
Gillingham midfielder Jordan Graham celebrates opening the scoring against Doncaster Picture: Andy Jones

Despite the disappointment, Evans was proud of his side’s second half response and the way they came so close to beating a team that not long ago were challenging for an automatic promotion spot.

Evans said: “The players were very disappointed after and the staff were down. It feels like a defeat, 100%.

“This is a group that might lack in some areas but collectively we come together and we fight.

"Our supporters would be entitled to be down, we go 2-0 up, we should be three up and be done, but it does happen sometimes in football. I think those same supporters will recognise that in the second half there is one team pressing, one team putting balls into the box, one team with efforts at goal and one team who should have won and that is against a team that six weeks ago were described by many people as a different class to the likes of Gillingham.

“It’s a fact that early season when we went there they were, we lost 2-1 and it could have been seven or eight, that is the difference, we are very much in this race but we have a very tough game at Hull next week.

“Considering only a few weeks ago people were talking about Doncaster being a different level to us. I wouldn't mind playing them over two legs in the play-offs.”

Action between Gillingham and Doncaster at Priestfield Picture: Andy Jones
Action between Gillingham and Doncaster at Priestfield Picture: Andy Jones

Gillingham subbed Stuart O'Keefe after a second half challenge but there appears to be no lasting damage.

It was one of two Evans took issue with, saying: "The referee had a poor game but he is not the reason for the two goals.

"Stu is fine, I think he just winded him. I personally think it was a red card although I have not seen it back. I see another coming together with Vadaine Oliver in the middle of the park and nothing is given.

"I think young Will [Finnie] is a good referee but he had a poor day for us and I think as soon as some of the Doncaster players were screaming he had the whistle in his mouth but even at the top level that can happen and he just had a bad day."

Report: Gillingham 2 Doncaster 2

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