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Oxford United 1 Gillingham 1: Reaction from Gills boss Steve Evans

Gillingham manager Steve Evans dismissed the late shouts for an Oxford penalty and insisted his team should have had one at the death.

There were big calls from home fans after Mark Sykes went to ground under pressure from Gills defender Jack Tucker but it was a penalty appeal at the other end of the pitch that Evans felt should have seen referee Darren Drysdale pointing to the spot. In the end Drysdale denied either team a penalty as the League 1 game ended 1-1.

“I was disappointed with the referee,” Evans said. “I thought it was handball right at the death. There were a couple of ricochets and the boy is on all fours on the ground, I think it is handball. It's a clear penalty not given but we were not going to get that when you look at the overall decisions from the referee.

“I said to him I was very disappointed with the lack of fouls given to my strikers and particular Vadaine Oliver. He got absolutely battered every time the ball has come up to him.

“I just think he has to give a penalty with the last kick of the ball. There were even people on the Oxford bench who thought that was a penalty.

“Their shouts? It was never a penalty was it? Jack Tucker has come across and done his job, simple but it was a penalty right at the end. Their bench knew it was a penalty. You could see it with their instant reaction. I saw two people on their bench with hands on heads, they thought it was a penalty, it is a penalty but the referee never gave it.

“Last kick of the game away at Oxford. Down there at the empty end we are probably not going to get it. I am sure if it was the home end, it might have been a different story. I know the referee didn’t give us a lot but he is a good referee and I think maybe he got a few calls wrong but I get calls wrong every week.”

Evans had been pleased to see his team get back into the match after a tough start.

They conceded after five minutes as Matty Taylor struck. The same player hit the woodwork before the Gills came into it and got a goal back through Alex MacDonald with a long range effort.

The manager said: “It was a hard earned point. We were taken aback from the start, it was a defensive error between Max Ehmer and Jack Tucker, over who was picking up Matty Taylor.

“When you see them score after four or five minutes and you go back to the game here a few years ago when we were three down in no time at all and we have learned a lot of lessons from then, we have shown a lot of resilience.”

Gills lost 3-0 two years ago at Oxford and were beaten 3-2 last term as the hosts came back from two goals down. Gillingham haven’t won there since 2010.

Evans said: “It was a horrible stomping ground last season because of the result, but we were absolutely brilliant for 83-84 minutes.

“I read the words attributed to Karl Robinson (the Oxford manager) yesterday and that they would have felt really disappointed not to have got anything from that game. I think he was tongue in cheek when he said that. I think he knew who was by far the better team and who should have won. It didn't happen and it took us away from the play off campaign.

“I also read the words that they had four of their best players back added to the quality players they already have and we were going to be lambs to the slaughter. We are lambs to the slaughter to nobody in this league.”

Report: Oxford United 1 Gillingham 1

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