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Gillingham 2 Swindon Town 2: Reaction to the League 2 draw at Priestfield from Gills head coach Stephen Clemence

Head coach Stephen Clemence felt a draw was a fair result after their topsy-turvy League 2 match against Swindon on Tuesday.

Trailing to Sean McGurk’s first-half goal, the Gills turned the match on its head at Priestfield through Oli Hawkins and Connor Mahoney’s penalty.

Remeao Hutton in action in Gillingham’s 2-2 League 2 draw at home to Swindon on Tuesday. Picture: @Julian_KPI
Remeao Hutton in action in Gillingham’s 2-2 League 2 draw at home to Swindon on Tuesday. Picture: @Julian_KPI

But Swindon substitute Harry McKirdy grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser as it finished 2-2.

Clemence reflected: “In the first half, they were the better team.

“We couldn’t get to grips with them. We could have done better with the ball - and we had to change one or two things at half-time, which helped us in the second half. That allowed us to get more pressure up the pitch.

“Playing in a 3-5-2 (formation), it’s very hard to get pressure up the pitch in that system. It should get you an extra body in midfield, an extra front player and the wing-backs involved.

“We played really well with it on Friday night - and we just didn’t start the first half well enough. I know it’s against a different system.

Report: Gillingham 2-2 Swindon

“But I have to say well done to Swindon. They played very well.

“We made the adjustments and then we were a lot better. Unfortunately, we have not held on at the end.

“But I think, probably over the course of the game, that was probably a fair result.”

One of two half-time substitutions was forced upon the Gills, defender Shadrach Ogie coming off after he made a last-ditch tackle to prevent Swindon going into the break two goals to the good.

“Shad has hurt himself,” Clemence confirmed.

Home keeper Jake Turner assesses his options. Picture: @Julian_KPI
Home keeper Jake Turner assesses his options. Picture: @Julian_KPI

“I was going to have to take a defender off anyway because I needed to make us a back four to get more pressure on them and also give us more time on the ball.

“So, I was going to make a change anyway - it might have been Shad, it might have been someone else. Shad’s going to be okay.

“He hasn’t had to go to hospital or anything like that. I haven’t spoken to any medical staff about it yet.

“I believe it was a problem in the groin area but he will be okay.”

Hawkins’ goal was his second in as many games. The 31-year-old also netted in last month’s 1-1 home draw with Forest Green while half-time substitute Jorge Hurtado earned Gillingham their penalty with a superb run.

Clemence noted: “Oli has got himself three goals recently, so that’s good. He’s on a good run.

“It was nice for him to score. Jorge has that little bit of South American… I don’t even know what you call it! They just tend to move a little bit differently to the English players.

“He was fantastic when he came on.”

The 20-year-old forward had wanted to take the spot-kick he had won himself - only to lose that particular battle to Mahoney.

“I haven’t seen him take a penalty,” Gillingham’s boss, booked in the second half against Swindon, revealed. “I was just a bit worried that he might try a little dink down the middle or something like that!

Substitute Jorge Hurtado celebrates in front of the Gills fans. Picture: @Julian_KPI
Substitute Jorge Hurtado celebrates in front of the Gills fans. Picture: @Julian_KPI

“I just thought that I know Connor can take them, Connor’s a good finisher, so I made sure that Connor took the penalty.”

Gillingham visit Newport this Saturday.

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