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Hartlepool United 0 Gillingham 0: Reaction from Gills boss Neil Harris

Gillingham boss Neil Harris was taking the positives from a game which was made much harder for them after the opposition changed their manager.

Winless opponents Hartlepool United had a new man at the helm in Keith Curle and that changed the dynamics of a fixture between two clubs trying to avoid the bottom two places in League 2.

Saturday’s match ended goalless and Harris was just disappointed that his team didn’t have the cutting edge to make their better moves pay off. Gillingham were unable to test the home keeper throughout the 90 minutes.

Harris said: “The day was made lot harder for us with a new manager coming in. I had seen some games earlier on in the season of Hartlepool and they struggled but this time they were a completely different outfit. It was always going to make it a lot more difficult.

“First half I thought we handled it really well, the only threat they looked like having was when we turned the ball over cheaply, other than that we got into some great areas and played some good football at times. Ultimately we should have been infront at half-time.

“Second half was a lot more even, the wind got up a bit and we struggled to get out, without giving bundles away, but when you are not on the front-foot second half and when the opponent does rally you need to make sure you don’t concede, our keeper made a couple of good saves and Will Wright made a great tackle.

"I expected my keeper to make a couple of saves and my centre-halves to throw themselves infront of the ball, when I look back at the stats and watch the game back we were getting into better areas than Hartlepool did but they looked more threatening with the end product than we did at times.

“We just have to be better with the ball in the final third, that’s for sure. I am delighted with the clean sheet and that the fans that took the cost and time to come and travel to see us, they didn‘t go home empty-handed.

“It was important not to lose the game, it was a game that I stand by was made more difficult with Keith Curle coming in as manager, because of the new manager bounce, sometimes you have to take a point and move on.

“We got into some real good areas and worked the over-loads, the lads had worked hard in the week on being in possession, I thought we were miles better than we were on the ball last week, like chalk and cheese in the first half, but again we just fell short creativity wise.

“We are playing four attacking players on the pitch, players who have got pedigree certainly at this level and the league above, and I have to have belief in those players. We just have to find a way of being more productive.”

Gillingham's only goal in September was Mikael Mandron's close-range finish against Grimsby.

While the Gills didn’t win, at least they avoided defeat and slipping into the drop-zone. A point actually saw Harris’ men climb two places into the division to 20th although it’s looking a congested bottom end to the table. Just three points separate bottom and 17th.

Harris said: “You want to keep a team below you behind you and also because we have all come a bloody long way to either watch a game of football or take part in a game of football, you don’t want people going home empty handed. It was important to get a point, a clean sheet, disappointed to a certain degree that we didn’t take all three.”

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