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Gillingham manager Neil Harris reacts to penalty shoot-out victory over Exeter City in Carabao Cup second round

Neil Harris had total faith in David Tutonda when he stepped up to take the decisive penalty in Gillingham’s Carabao Cup win over Exeter.

Tutonda’s staggered run-up and ice-cool finish saw the Gills triumph 6-5 on penalties at Priestfield on Tuesday night after a goalless draw.

Olly Lee, Mikael Mandron, Will Wright, Ben Reeves and Hakeeb Adekulan all scored before the wing-back bagged the winner after Gills keeper Jake Turner denied Josh Key.

“If we can be that clinical in open play we’ll be all right,” said boss Harris, after the second-round victory.

“Even the penalties tonight, what that does, that gives those players confidence moving forward and I’m really pleased for Dave Tutonda to get the winning spot-kick.

“He took it well and he does practise, he’s one that stays behind after training messing around and taking penalties against the goalkeepers.

“I was confident on the five first and I was certainly confident with David sixth. I thought he was excellent tonight.

“That’s the sort of level of performance he has to put in every week if he wants to play in the team.

“He’s in a dogfight with Ryan Law to play in that position and there’s not a lot between the two players.

“That’s what we want, that competitive nature in the squad and David’s certainly done himself no harm tonight.”

Both sides made six changes for the tie, which attracted a crowd of just under 3,000.

There were chances at either end but it went to penalties after 90 minutes, with Gillingham getting the better of their League 1 visitors.

Harris said: “It’s cup football, you just have to get through, so whether we won in open play or penalties is a little bit irrelevant to me.

Striker Lewis Walker is challenged during Gillingham's Carabao Cup tie against Exeter Picture: Barry Goodwin
Striker Lewis Walker is challenged during Gillingham's Carabao Cup tie against Exeter Picture: Barry Goodwin

“We got through, that’s the most important thing but the game itself I thought was excellent.

“We limited a team in the league above, that did really well in our division last year, to next to nothing with really good disciplined shape, some real aggression to our play at the right times.

“And then with the ball in the final third we created chances and probably the most we created this year in open play and it’s a travesty really that we haven’t won the game in 90 minutes.

“I just thought it was a strong performance, I thought we set our stall out early, we played in the right areas and again the shape was reliable.

“I think the fans enjoyed the game. It wasn’t overly end-to-end or 4-4 or anything like that but I think they appreciated that in our own way at the moment we played well again.”

Gillingham will discover their third-round opponents when the draw is made tonight after the remaining second-round ties.

The rest of the Premier League clubs enter at this stage - those in European competition - which opens the door to a potentially huge tie.

But you can forget Old Trafford, Anfield et al, Harris wants to be at Priestfield.

He said: “I’d rather play at home, definitely. Honestly, I’d rather just play here. I just want to build this place.

“We’ve got a new group of lads, I want them to get used to being out at Priestfield.”

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