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Crawley Town 0 Gillingham 0: Reaction from Gills boss after League 2 goalless draw

Gillingham manager Neil Harris was pleased his players responded in the right way after a ‘sobering weekend.’

Harris was stinging in his criticism of the team after a weekend loss to Newport and had them in on Sunday to explain why he was so outspoken. On Tuesday at Crawley the performance levels improved - even if the goals didn’t come.

“I did get a response,” he said. “Saturday I was frustrated, I used the phrase that I was fed up, because of the context, we had better chances than them on Saturday, we didn’t take them and the other team did, it was a poor result.

“I was also not happy with the attitude of the players in the first 20 minutes on Saturday. I was pleased I didn’t make three subs in the first 20 minutes, because I do respect the group, but we did come in on Sunday morning which was supposed to be a recovery day.

“It was a sobering weekend for us, Sunday morning was an opportunity to nail down some home truths and it can go one way or another but the players responded brilliantly in training, they responded on Tuesday, but it has to be the bare minimum, I can’t keep reminding the group that is what they need to do to represent the football club, we have to do that every game and have that quality.

“We spent an hour going through clips of the game and it gave me a chance to get my views across in a calm manner and the reaction was so much better.

“We competed for every ball, we played on the front foot, we pressed when we could and ultimately we should have won the game. I am pleased with the response from Saturday. I would say we were more Gillingham-like at times."

Goals didn't back up the performance, however. Teen striker Joe Gbode put a great chance wide first half and more followed after the break with Scott Kashket among those to be denied.

“We missed absolute sitters," said Harris, who was a lethal finisher as a player. "I said to the boys, the hardest thing to do in a match is to score - and get a decent referee at times - but we should have won the game and at some stage the players have to take ownership of sticking that ball in the net.

“What was missing was a goal and the only frustration from our football club, from me down to the supporters, is that we haven’t scored, that’s all. It was the only thing missing.”

Crawley were seeking a fourth straight league win at home but only had one shot on target, which keeper Jake Turner dealt with comfortably. The best chances on the night fell to the Gills.

Harris said: “Their opportunities came when we gave the ball away too cheaply, which for my liking was a little too often at times, but we controlled the game, dominated it pretty much, even without the ball we were comfortable and then we had all the best chances.

“It was a strong performance, I wouldn’t say really good, but it was strong and it is more of what I expect. Sooner or later it will drop for us, it has to.”

Harris also felt his side should have had a penalty when Will Wright went to ground after being manhandled by a defender. It was a night when the big moments didn’t go their way.

The Gills boss explained how he saw it, along with 1,000 away fans, saying: “Will gets the wrong side of their player and he gets spun round and pulled to the floor.

"If every one of those is a penalty at the World Cup, after Harry Maguire’s (against Iran), which we know was a penalty and they have obviously had a ticking off for not giving it, that has to be a penalty.

“How can 1,000 people see it, others see it, their bench laugh about it, the only people who didn’t see it were the officials. I very rarely bemoan officials but what I will say, it is just another something that hasn’t gone our way.”

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