Published: 22:00, 04 September 2018
| Updated: 09:14, 05 September 2018
Boss Steve Lovell felt his young players will have learnt a lot from Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy defeat.
The Gills were thumped 4-0 by Portsmouth and Lovell feels that experience will only benefit those involved.
There was a first competitive start for 19-year-old Bradley Stevenson, rare starts for Darren Oldaker, Aaron Simpson and keeper Tom Hadler, only a third senior showing for teenager Ben Chapman and a debut for 17-year-old Miguel Scarlett, off the bench.
Lovell said: “For 40 minutes, the young side that we had out acquitted themselves very well, they played some good stuff and had a couple of chances but goals change games.
“After 40 minutes they get a corner and it’s a sloppy, silly goal to give away. They go 1-0 up and then we give the ball away in midfield, they go through and get the second. We were looking to go in at the break 0-0 but you find yourself 2-0 down and you have a mountain to climb again.
"Our boys gave everything, gave a good account of themselves and after 40 minutes I was quite pleased and enjoying what I was seeing, but two goals in five minutes knocked the stuffing out of us.
"First half I was very pleased, you are going in at half time and you don’t know what to say to them really, because they have done so well but are 2-0 down. We should have had a penalty, it was ridiculous (the challenge on) Elliott List.
"He has given one for them, in the second half, but in the first Elliott’s was twice as bad. It is so soft it's unbelievable but there we are.
“They kept going to the end, a lot of boys would have got a lot of experience out of that. They (Portsmouth) had experienced players out there, with a lot of league appearances, and that took its toll.
"Their two centre halves have been ever-present for a long, long time, they are good players to play against and it was difficult for our boys and the experience that they had showed. In the end it became hard work for the boys but they kept going right to the end, it was good experience for them.
“It gave us an opportunity to play some of the young lads like Bradley Stevenson, DJ (Oldaker), Aaron Simpson, and Miguel, it was good, they did the best they could, they didn’t quite get there.
"Overall you can take heart from the boys’ performance, they kept going, they worked hard and they gave everything they could, I don’t think they could have given anymore against that team. Fair play to them, I am pleased for them."