Home   Medway   Sport   Article

Walsall 2 Gillingham 0: Match highlights and reaction from Gills boss Neil Harris after League 2 defeat at the Bescot Stadium

Gillingham’s defeat at Walsall may well have been 72 hours in the making.

The Gills were beaten 2-0 by The Saddlers - their first win in 13 - and boss Neil Harris revealed how Thursday’s disappointing training session had already left him concerned ahead of their weekend trip.

Gillingham manager Neil Harris questions his players standards in training before Saturday's game
Gillingham manager Neil Harris questions his players standards in training before Saturday's game

Harris said: “I thought we were poor in training Thursday, a little better on Friday.

“My disappointment is with the whole group over 72 hours, we just haven’t hit the standards I expect, not just as individuals but as a group, that is why I had a few choice words to say to the lads (after the game) about where we have been.

“Training standards on Thursday in particular weren’t where they have been at every day for eight weeks. It’s just a gentle reminder that if you don’t train properly that can happen. A coincidence? Possibly. They leave themselves open to be questioned by the manager if they don’t train properly in the week.

“For me, I have had my say to the players, I now expect a response on Tuesday (at home to Crewe).

“If we are off it five per cent then we can lose games of football at this level, when we are at it full pelt and the concentration, the focus, the discipline and the organisation, the squad togetherness is there, then we are a match for anyone.

“I am disappointed with the result, I don’t like losing, and however much we lost before Christmas I don’t get used to it, I don’t like it, I am not here to lose games of football. I gently reminded the players of that.

“I am disappointed for the first time since the middle of January of my group. I wasn’t at Mansfield (after a 2-0 defeat) as they were better than us on the day. (Against) Bradford (a 2-0 home loss) we made a couple of errors. I have no problem with individual errors, it is going to happen.

“I get things wrong as we all do, players will make errors and get punished against better sides.”

An unfortunate deflection led to Walsall’s opener, as Issac Hutchinson's shot hit Max Ehmer and went in, and they got a second in stoppage-time through Conor Wilkinson as the Gills were searching for a late equaliser.

There wasn’t much in the game between the sides but Walsall tested the Gills keeper on several occasions while the home goalie was never tested. With 13 chances at goal only a header from Shaun Williams was on target and that was comfortably gathered by the home stopper.

Reflecting on the defeat, Harris said: “I am disappointed we lost, obviously, first half there wasn’t a lot in it, any time either team took care of the football there were chances. We got into really good areas and had some chances and Glenn (Morris) had to make a couple of saves for us, but there was nothing in it first half, second half was similar.

“I fancied us to get better as the game went on, then the first goal changes it, a deflection, the ball was going straight at Glenn, an easy save, deflects to the other corner and then you are chasing the game.

“I thought we were chasing it well at times and looked really threatening and controlled, without creating clear-cut chances. The second goal was a poor one but we get done when we are chasing with a lot of attacking players on the pitch.

“It was a typical League 2 game, not a lot in it, lacking a bit of quality at times. The pitch was difficult, really difficult, any time either team took a bit of composure or quality then they got into really good areas. I thought we put some really good balls into the box, a little disappointed the big man upfront (Oli Hawkins) didn’t get on a couple of them.

“What I have found out this year in League 2 is that you don’t always get what you deserve. The first goal changes the magnitude of the game and the way it’s going to go and we are then chasing the game and when you do that at some stage you are going to leave yourself open and they get the second goal.”

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More