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Steve Evans' reaction following Gillingham's 1-0 win over Southend United in the Carabao Cup

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Determination was key for the Gills on Saturday said boss Steve Evans.

He admits they are still lacking quality but one goal from Connor Ogivlie was enough to see them through against League 2 Southend United, having finished the game with 10 men.

Evans said: “Our determination and willingness to work hard got us through in the end. Getting through in the cup was our objective.

“It was a poor start but I think for the 25 minutes after we scored we bossed it. Arguably we should have scored two or three. We’ve started the second half slightly the better team and then Jacko gets sent off.”

Jackson picked up two bookings, both for fouls.

”I’ve got no complaints with the second yellow – absolutely none,” Evans said.

“The referee got that right. But the first one is a mystery. He waves play on, the fourth official brings it back and then the referee books him. That’s strange.

“I then watch a Southend player already on a yellow absolutely smash Stuart O’Keefe and nothing happens.”

It was a mixed bag from his own team in what was their first competitive match in six months. Evans named seven newcomers in the starting XI and introduced another off the bench.

The manager said: “I have seen some good stuff from Rob McKenzie but he can get much better, we pitched Maghoma in with two days training, he is not sharp. He has a brilliant body, but it’s is a fitness body.

“I have seen Medley better but he had good spells. We have seen some good things and not so good things.

“For 20 minutes when we were down to 10 men we saw the John Akinde that we signed. He became a real focal point, a real presence, they were scared of him but we couldn’t get forward enough.

“We didn’t want to go to 10 men and for players to be playing in unfamiliar positions but we had to dig in.

“We showed a gritty determination that every team needs and a base of which to build on.

“In terms of quality, we are still some way away, there will be a lot of surprises in the cup, there will be next Saturday too, because for these boys not to play for six months of competitive football and then to come into it, it is very difficult.

“You then if you add the fact that it is an eerie atmosphere isn’t it? It is very quiet. We have to generate that atmosphere ourselves until such time as the fans can return.”

Match report: Gills 1 Southend United 0

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