Published: 22:00, 19 October 2021
| Updated: 09:31, 20 October 2021
Some strong words at half-time and a tweak to the corner routine helped Gillingham overcome basement boys Doncaster on Tuesday.
Steve Evans shuffled his Gills side around several times on the night before they came good but they needed a set-piece to win it and the boss was on hand to order the tactical change to make it happen.
The winning goal came following a succession of corners, Danny Lloyd delivering the cross and Vadaine Oliver heading in off the back of Stuart O’Keefe.
Evans said: “We had a routine and after so many corners we changed it to an outswinger and I had to remind Lloydy before he took it, but he took it and V got on the end of it. Doncaster players were all standing there at the back stick and on the line waiting for an inswinger.
“It was the first time we varied it up and I think the Donny boys got caught out. They went running to the referee, I don’t know what for, it was a simple corner and a simple header.
"They were nowhere near Stuart or V. I had said to Paul Raynor (the assistant manager) we have to change it. We shouted to Kyle Dempsey (the captain), after the previous corner, and he has given the instruction to Lloyd. We said 'let’s do the outswinger and let’s see if we can find V or Rhys Bennett.' We found V.
“That was a good tactical decision implemented brilliantly with a good ball in from Lloydy and a great header from Vadaine and then it is always going to be a bit nervy in the last few minutes.”
The first half hadn’t been much of a spectacle and halfway through the Gills had to switch personnel and their system when winger Mustapha Carayol went off injured. Evans didn’t have another winger so stuck John Akinde up top instead.
That got them through to the break where Evans changed it around again, taking Max Ehmer off and introducing midfielder Dan Adshead.
Busy boss Evans said: “Second half was more like us, more intense, more on the front foot and the disappointing thing is we didn’t get the chance to relax by getting the second goal.
“I wasn’t pleased with the first half and people could probably hear me in the seats when I was in the dressing room at half-time. I just thought we had lacked all that intensity and willingness to run that five yards at maximum speed that we had against Sunderland.
“I said that if we disrespect Doncaster we lose the game, we were sitting there 0-0 and we had an opportunity to win the game. We changed the style of play and system, went three upfront, we asked Adshead to pass it and keep control of possession at times. I think second half Adshead, O’Keefe and Dempsey were brilliant, Danny Lloyd was excellent and from the big two upfront we got a real shift.
“We broke and counter-attacked a couple of times and we should score, John got a heavy touch but I thought he was very good when he came on. Second half I didn’t really see them make many chances, they had a few crosses and things like that but I was never really concerned about them scoring, apart from the referee giving them a nonsense free-kick when the boys dives on the edge of the box.”