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Dagenham & Redbridge 1 Gillingham 1: Reaction from Gills manager Neil Harris after FA Cup Second Round match

Manager Neil Harris admitted his Gillingham side were second best to National League Dagenham & Redbridge in the FA Cup on Saturday.

The Gills needed a stoppage-time goal from Scott Kashket to keep them in the second round, taking the tie back to Priestfield for a replay after a 1-1 draw.

Gillingham manager Neil Harris pleased to be in the hat despite being second best Picture: KPI
Gillingham manager Neil Harris pleased to be in the hat despite being second best Picture: KPI

Report: Dagenham 1-1 Gillingham

“We are in the draw, that’s the most important thing,” Harris said. “The last thing we needed was a replay, that’s our 28th game of the season, which is a joke, by the time we play the replay it will be our 30th game by the start of December which we could really do without to be honest, as a group.

“Did we deserve to have a reply? I am not sure about that, I thought Dagenham were the better team, first half I thought it was even, second half I thought we were really poor quality at times, and Dagenham put us under pressure.

“We should have had a couple of penalties, one was certainly handball, but when you go behind with seven minutes to go you do fear.

“I’m probably relieved to be in the hat and pleased. Everyone can look forward to the draw and enjoy that on Monday evening, but it is certainly a game we could do without.”

Kashket fired in from Jordan Green’s ball in to level the match with just seconds left. Both men had come off the bench as Harris switched things around second half.

The manager said: “I spoke to Kash about spending too much of his time outside the penalty area for me, I am pleased the guys came on and had an impact, even Hakeeb (Adelakun) for the last seven or eight minutes had an impact when he came on at right back.

“It took us up to 75 minutes to really get going second half, that is not really acceptable, lower-league team, at it a bit more than us? I think so at times, I thought they out-battled us a couple of times which was disappointing, but we hung in there, we dug in and we are in the draw.”

Dagenham had gone into the game as slight favourites with the bookmakers, sitting ninth in the National League with four straight wins behind them, facing a Gills team struggling in every department in the league above.

Harris said: “If we got beaten it wouldn’t have been an upset would it? There are only 10 league places between the two teams, no difference to us playing a team 10 places above us in League 2, it wouldn’t be an upset.

“I didn’t fear a major cup upset because it was two very evenly matched teams, just in two different divisions, the game in the first half certainly looked like two evenly matched teams and second half they were slightly better than us cup-football wise.

"I thought their one versus one duels were slightly better and that changed when we made the subs and then we were slightly better for the majority of the time with the subs on the pitch.

“Relieved, yes, to be in the draw, because it came so late in the game, pleased not to lose the game but again cup football we don’t have an issue do we?”

The Gills are unbeaten in their last six cup games, scoring in all of them. In the league they are without a win in eight and without a goal in their last five.

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