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Gillingham 3 Plymouth Argyle 1: Reaction from Gills coach Ian Cox

First team coach Ian Cox was delighted the Gillingham players overcame the pressure to win Friday's relegation scrap.

The Gills scored three second half goals to wipe out Plymouth’s first half advantage after a cagey opening 45.

Home fans had been expecting a response, following last week’s 2-0 home loss to Shrewsbury, but the Gills took some time to get going.

Gillingham first team coach Ian Cox. Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham first team coach Ian Cox. Picture: Ady Kerry

Cox said: “The manager knows his players and he’s picked a team to go out there and they have proved a lot of critics wrong.

“Fair play to the boys for standing up to the test. They were under a lot of pressure, especially after last week’s defeat, they stood up to it and it’s testament to the boys. They showed their mental strength.

“We are over the moon to have got the result, which puts us into more of a comfortable position, to secure our safety in League 1.”

Report: Gillingham 3 Plymouth 1

Things weren’t looking so clever at the break, with the Gills trailing to Freddie Ladapo’s opener.

“It was a cagey affair,” said the coach.

“I felt the first goal was going to be pivotal, whatever way it went.

"I felt we looked a little shell-shocked after it went to Plymouth but we managed to galvanise ourselves, dug deep and pulled something out of the bag.”

Fans enjoy the win Picture: Ady Kerry (8881172)
Fans enjoy the win Picture: Ady Kerry (8881172)

The Gills made two changes at the break, giving their attack a different dimension. Leading scorer Tom Eaves was swapped for the pace of Elliott List, while Tahvon Campbell was also introduced.

Cox said: “It was a case of trying to freshen it up and giving them something else to think about. When you have the likes of Listy, Tav and Brandon (Hanlan) up top, it’s pure pace. That is what worries any defender.”

Hanlan got the final goal in stoppage-time, to seal a 3-1 win.

The Gills aren’t definitely safe but the management celebrated like a weight was off their shoulders.

Cox said: “I try to keep un-animated a lot of the time but the emotions took over everyone.

Brandon Hanlan celebrates his goal Picture: Ady Kerry (8881170)
Brandon Hanlan celebrates his goal Picture: Ady Kerry (8881170)

“You start the job at the beginning of the season and you just want to complete the task and the task first and foremost was the secure safety and if you can push on so be it.

"First and foremost it is all about securing safety in League 1.”

The coach also had a word for the fans, who helped get them across the line.

“It was very good and I commend the supporters for how they came back,” he said.

“They could have quite easily not turned up in their droves, after last week, but they stuck by us, they came out and were vocal and they acted as a 12th man.

“They spurred the boys on and it got the boys going, not so much the first half, but the second. Going towards the Rainham End was quite pivotal for us.”

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