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Doncaster 2 Gillingham 1: Match highlights and reaction from manager Neil Harris as Gills beaten on their travels

Gillingham manager Neil Harris admitted he was baffled as to how his team lost to Doncaster on Saturday.

The Gills had more efforts at goal than the hosts but didn’t make them count.

Gillingham manager Neil Harris frustrated at a missed opportunity against Doncaster Picture: Keith Gillard
Gillingham manager Neil Harris frustrated at a missed opportunity against Doncaster Picture: Keith Gillard

Report: Doncaster 2-1 Gillingham

Harris’ side went behind to Ben Close’s 12th-minute strike from a free-kick and although Conor Masterson headed them level, it was Close again who struck late in the game to win it.

Reacting to the 2-1 defeat, Harris said: “They are pretty on the eye at times, they try and keep the ball, but barring the odd moment they didn’t really open us up, they didn’t cause us loads of problems.

“We just had chance, after chance, after chance over the course of 90 minutes.

“I am just baffled we haven’t won the game and we haven’t won because we haven’t been clinical enough, we should be coming off four or five up in that game, but if you don't take your chances you’re not going to win football matches at any level. We paid the price for not being clinical enough.

“What was my gripe? Two goals. The winning goal is a great strike, everyone will see the pictures of that, but it’s poor from us on the set-piece, on a restart from a throw-in, our organisations is really poor, bad communication from the players, but then it’s a great strike into the top corner.

“Before that we've had six, seven, eight sitters and I'm talking absolute sitters, it's disappointing. I can't fault the lads for their effort or for their desire. We changed shape today (going to 3-5-2) because of the personnel that wasn't available and we just weren’t clinical enough in the final third.

“We tried to build the play in the first half, their shape dictated it was tough to get through, and then we went more direct, and then we absolutely bullied them and we got into the final third countless times.

“Off the top of my head I can remember five, six or seven chances, clear-cut chances in the six-yard box that we haven't scored and I’m not just talking about centre-forwards, Nico had one onto the bar but Conor Masterson scored one but had two sitters, Shad Ogie in the last seconds hit the post.

“We should have won the game, that’s the bottom line, at worst you don’t lose that game, I know Jake has made two saves second half but we should never lose that game, it’s a massive disappointment.”

Doncaster’s opener came from an indirect free-kick inside Gillingham’s area after keeper Jake Turner picked up a Max Ehmer back-pass. There was some protest from the players at the time but Harris didn’t have an issue with the decision. He did about the defending of the free-kick, however.

He said: “It was a back-pass, for me, but where is the communication between the two of them, a young goalkeeper and a senior player, we have to nail that.

“He’s still hit in a free-kick from 20-25 yards and we've got to defend that better, the wall has got to do its job. So that's that's a disappointment.

“And then the winning goal was just stuck into the top corner but it’s poor from the restart, another restart.

“Last year Leyton Orient (the League 2 champions) were world-class on restarts, they scored goals from corners and hardly conceded a goal from a restart, we have conceded them against Grimsby, Colchester and now again, we have to be better than that on the restarts.

“I asked us today to be as classy in the first half as we were last week at times, but then to be League 2-like, and a top League 2 side doesn’t concede from set-plays, which we did.

“The second one is a great strike but we switched off and didn’t get organised quickly enough. The goals were just poor goals.”

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