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Gillingham 1 Sutton United 0: Match highlights and reaction from Gills head coach Stephen Clemence after League 2 win at Priestfield

Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence was pleased to see his team take onboard his advice ahead of their game against Sutton.

The Gills boss wanted his team to play “with the shackles off” and they did just that, creating 24 shots at goal. Only one went in but it’s progress from a team who hadn’t scored in any of their previous three league outings and had picked up just a single point.

Assistant Robbie Stockdale and head coach Stephen Clemence as the Gills beat Sutton Picture: @Julian_KPI
Assistant Robbie Stockdale and head coach Stephen Clemence as the Gills beat Sutton Picture: @Julian_KPI

More: Gillingham 1 Sutton 0

Speaking after the 1-0 win, Clemence said: “I am pleased, pleased the boys have actually really believed they could go and attack a team from the start and they really had a go.

“I told them to take the shackles off and said ‘what are you worried about? Go and take a team on, you are good players, go and show us what you can do when you step over that white line.’

“It’s alright me telling them that I believe in them but they have to believe in themselves and go and prove it. I thought from the start they really did that.

“People will say we were only against 10 men but we were fantastic against 11 as well. Sutton just had a good result against Wimbledon at Wimbledon’s ground only a few days ago. They might be near the bottom of the league but no game is easy, I always say that, every game is a tough one. I am just pleaded for the boys, pleased we have got three points.”

Sutton had striker Harry Smith sent off midway through the first half for a foul on Max Ehmer.

Scott Malone’s 72nd minute volley into the top corner won it but there were plenty of easier chances to convert. Taking those opportunities remains an issue but Clemence was pleased to end the year with maximum points.

“We were absolutely fantastic,” he said. “Fantastic when they had 11 men and we probably could have been a couple up at that point. We had enough chances to probably win three football matches.

“It is very difficult playing against 10 men, I have done it myself as a player, you have seen it loads on the TV when it almost becomes harder. We dominated against 11 and it could have been difficult against 10 but the lads were absolutely fantastic.

“You have to keep going after teams like that, keep attacking and it doesn’t matter who we play, that is the mindset we have to have and I will keep working hard with them so they can keep that mindset.”

Clemence wasn’t hiding away from the fact they had 24 shots and only scored once.

“We will end it,” he said, commenting on their lack of goals. “I am completely confident in the players, in my staff and I have been on the coaching side for a long, long time, I know what good work looks like.

“There is a lot of good work that goes on at this football club and as long as they keep trying to do the right things, we will be fine.

“We have to be consistent with it, we have got to keep going and just concentrate on the next game now.”

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