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Gillingham 0 Sunderland 2 reaction: Manager Steve Evans reviews penalty decision and admits he got it wrong


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Gills manager Steve Evans has admitted the Sunderland penalty decision on Saturday was correct - after initially claiming the officials got it wrong.

Evans does, however, stand by his assertion that they should have had a second penalty in the match following a challenge on John Akinde.

Alex MacDonald walks off after being sent off Picture: Barry Goodwin
Alex MacDonald walks off after being sent off Picture: Barry Goodwin

The Gills were well in the game, even after losing Alex MacDonald to a red card for a wayward tackle, but conceded when Sunderland substitute Chris Maquire converted from the spot. Sunderland went onto seal it with a late second.

Evans was initially furious at the penalty decision, made by the linesman, after Zech Medley was adjudged to have fouled Charlie Wyke in the box.

“The penalty to them looks like an absolutely disgusting decision,” said the Gills manager, without the benefit of a video replay.

But following a review he admitted the penalty was "100%" correct, adding: "We got it wrong and the assistant referee was correct."

A glancing header from Connor Ogilvie goes wide Picture: Barry Goodwin
A glancing header from Connor Ogilvie goes wide Picture: Barry Goodwin

The Gills were down to 10 men after MacDonald had misjudged his challenge on Luke O’Nien, that incident coming just after Jordan Graham had a penalty saved and Dominic Samuel put the rebound over the bar.

Evans said: “The missed penalty happens, the rebound we should score, that looked easy for Dominic to score but the disappointed aspect was two-fold for me.

“Alex MacDonald’s challenge, I thought it was a red card, I will have a look back but I think the referee has got that one right.”

Evans had the chance to also review a challenge on Akinde, shortly after Sunderland had scored their spot-kick, which the manager felt was a definite penalty. The Gills weren't given that second chance to convert from the spot.

The Sunderland bench angry after a challenge by Ryan Jackson Picture: Barry Goodwin
The Sunderland bench angry after a challenge by Ryan Jackson Picture: Barry Goodwin

As for the man sent-off, Evans said: “Alex MacDonald quite rightly had the ears taken off him, so he should. I told him he must look at his team-mates and feel embarrassed.

“You don’t get embarrassed by missing a chance from a penalty, but the boys have worked incredibly hard, they are producing some really good performances but when it all levels out you have to believe that it turns. It will turn, we have to believe it will.”

It’s five defeats from the last five now for the Gills but Evans has no complaints about the way his team are performing. Again, however, it was another day where they didn’t take their chances.

“It was a really good performance,” Evans said.

Gillingham defender jack Tucker makes a clearance Picture: Barry Goodwin
Gillingham defender jack Tucker makes a clearance Picture: Barry Goodwin

“Chances were made and not taken, a rebound was missed when it seemed easier to score and Alex commits a terrible challenge, for me it is a red card, on the eye, I will have to look at it back.

“The best team has lost but nobody is going to believe that around the country.

“A large percentage of the fans don’t see it, it is still a defeat and it is my responsibility, but it was an outstanding Gillingham performance.

“Ipswich ( a 1-0 defeat on Tuesday ) second half was outstanding. I would accept us to be rubbish and win but we have now lost five in a row, one of them we wholeheartedly deserved to lose (against MK Dons). We should have drawn two and won two of the others but we have lost them. We need to go again.”

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