Published: 18:00, 10 November 2018
| Updated: 09:02, 12 November 2018
Non-league Hartlepool did a job on the Gills admitted boss Steve Lovell.
Gillingham were unable to impose their game on the National League opponents and must meet them again in the northeast a week on Wednesday.
Hartlepool restricted Lovell’s men to only a few half chances at goal but got what they came for, according to the Gills boss.
Lovell said: “They came and did their job, they did their job better than ours basically and that about sums it up.
“I was very disappointed, not by the way we played, because we had most of the possession, it is just what we did with the ball when we had it. They sat behind the ball and put everyone behind it first half.
“We usually dictate to teams the way we want to play games but they dictated to us the way they wanted to play, that was sitting behind the ball, letting us have it at the back and we had nowhere to go. They won that battle basically, that battle of wit, of our players not doing what they do normally.
“We didn’t use our strengths. Our forwards can run but we didn’t get the ball into the right areas for them to run into. When we started to do it second half we got a lot more joy, we got crosses in the box but they defended it well and you have to give them credit.
“We were a lot better (second half) but still a long way off what we have been doing but a lot better, we got the ball forward into good areas and created a bit more.
“They wanted to get a 0-0 and that is what they got. Sometimes it is hard to break teams down who have put everyone behind the ball and didn’t want to win the game.”
The end result was a fair one, said the manager.
“Without a doubt (it was),” Lovell said.
“We didn’t play well and it wasn’t because of us, it was because Hartlepool didn’t allow us to and they deserved for us to go back there, definitely.
“They came looking for a draw and they planned it well. They achieved it, fair play to them, they deserved it.”
Lovell made a change at the break, taking off Connor Ogilvie and switching formation from 3-5-2 to his preferred 4-4-2 diamond set-up. The Gills still struggled for clear-cut chances but looked more threatening.
“Connor was unlucky to be brought off,” said the manager.
“Billy (Bingham) was alright when he went on in that diamond and I think that suits us more.
“Defensively we were sound and apart from the odd chances they didn’t create much. It is just about trying to create more going forward.”
More by this authorLuke Cawdell