Published: 18:00, 09 March 2019
| Updated: 18:43, 09 March 2019
Gillingham boss Steve Lovell was delighted to see his men produce a different kind of win on Saturday.
The Gills had to battle for the points in a game where neither side had a great deal of goalscoring opportunities.
“It was a different three points to what we are used to,” said the winning manager.
“We like to play football, but it was a gutsy three points and the boys put in a good shift.
“We definitely deserved it, they didn’t have a shot on target, not one on goal.
“The conditions weren’t very good (it was windy on Saturday at Priestfield) and that dictated the way the game was going to be. We knew it was going to be a battle and that it wasn’t going to be pretty.
“I said to the boys, especially the younger ones, sometimes you learn things in your career going forward that you can win football games by rolling your sleeves up, through true grit, digging in and working hard and that is what it was.
“It was a performance where everyone had a go, they worked hard and we got our rewards.”
Gillingham scored the winner in the 89th minute, through Brandon Hanlan, having seen Tom Eaves’ earlier penalty saved.
Lovell said: “When Tom missed the penalty you are thinking, ‘it’s going to be one of those games again’ but I have always said things even themselves out over a season.
“After what happened last week against us at Fleetwood (conceding a 91st minute goal), perhaps that is one that did even itself out. We didn’t deserve to drop two points there.
“Over the balance of play (on Saturday) we deserved to get the three points.”
Eaves had his 52nd minute penalty saved but Lovell felt Oxford’s Rob Dickie should have been sent off for the foul on Hanlan, that led to the spot kick.
“It was a definite penalty,” Lovell said.
“I don’t understand why he wasn’t sent off. People say it’s new rules now but Brandon was through on goal, just the keeper to beat and the fella pulls him down. It’s a straight red for me, but it doesn’t matter does it, we missed the penalty anyway!”
Oxford boss Karl Robinson was furious they weren’t awarded a penalty of their own, after Jerome Sinclair went down in the box after a collision with keeper Tomas Holy.
Robinson said it was “one of the worst I’ve not been given,” but Lovell wasn’t so sure it was that clear-cut.
He said: “I saw the fella moving forward but Tomas is 6ft 9inch and if he is going to give someone a bit of a bounce then it might look like (a penalty) from the side but I didn’t see him push him.”
More by this authorLuke Cawdell