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Reaction from Gillingham manager Steve Lovell after a 1-0 defeat to Bristol Rovers

Bristol Rovers striker Jonson Clarke-Harris made the difference on Tuesday night.

Gillingham boss Steve Lovell admitted the in-form forward was a handful for his men all night and the striker settled the game with a 25-yard stunner.

Other than that, the sides were equally matched.

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Gills striker Tom Eaves shows his frustration Picture: Ady Kerry (7742584)
Gills striker Tom Eaves shows his frustration Picture: Ady Kerry (7742584)

Lovell said: “It was one of those games where a bit of quality or a mistake would win the game and a little quality won it, with a tremendous goal.

“We have said this year that we have given teams goals but when someone sticks a 25-30 yard goal into the top corner you hold your hands up and say it’s an excellent strike.

Report: Gillingham 0 Bristol Rovers 1

“He (Clarke-Harris) is in a rich vein of form and he was a handful, he caused us problems all night, he was excellent and perhaps at at the end he deserved his goal. It was a brilliant finish.”

Unfortunately Gillingham couldn’t find that lethal finish themselves.

“I think if we had been there for another hour we wouldn’t have scored,” he said.

“It was one of those nights.

“We huffed and puffed.

Callum Reilly puts a foot in against Ed Upson Picture: Ady Kerry (7742582)
Callum Reilly puts a foot in against Ed Upson Picture: Ady Kerry (7742582)

“I was disappointed with the way we started the first half, it took us a long time to get into the game.

“As the game settled down in the second half I thought we started to look the better side, we had more possession, more balls going into the box, not many chances, but I didn’t think we made the most of those balls going into the box and that was something that disappointed me.

“I can’t fault the effort of the boys but sometimes it is a little bit of anticipation of the ball coming into the box and getting on the end of it.

“I am just disappointed because we have had a nice run going and it’s not for the want of trying or the effort, but we just couldn’t get that ball in the net.”

Brandon Hanlan is outnumbered Picture: Ady Kerry (7742580)
Brandon Hanlan is outnumbered Picture: Ady Kerry (7742580)

The Gills only had one effort on target on Tuesday night and only two at the weekend.

Lovell said: “When you are down in this situation and playing these teams all around us, it is going to be tight, we know that.

“We are not going to have 15 attempts on target, it is one of those where you have to stay in the game and it’s a tactical battle with the opposition.

"It’s a physical battle, a mental one, because we are all fighting for the same thing.

Darren Oldaker challenges with Tom Nichols Picture: Ady Kerry (7742657)
Darren Oldaker challenges with Tom Nichols Picture: Ady Kerry (7742657)

“Against all of the sides around us at the bottom, it’s not going to be pretty.

“I have been quite pleased with our resilience and our battling qualities and we showed them again. They didn’t really create anything against us, they didn’t look like doing anything against us until the ball flew into the net.

“They have won the game and all credit to them.

"They have had the same enthusiasm and work-rate as us and I would never have a go at anyone in our dressing room about not giving everything, because they have.

“If it had been nil nil I think both teams would have walked off and said, ‘okay it was a nil nil game’, but a great goal won the game.”


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