Home   Medway   Sport   Article

Stevenage 1 Gillingham 0: Match highlights and reaction from Gills boss Neil Harris

Gillingham manager Neil Harris has said it’s either him or the players that need changing.

The Gills slipped to a fourth successive defeat on Monday after going down 1-0 at Stevenage, extending their winless run in League 2 to 12 matches as they ended their festive campaign sitting five points adrift of safety, at the bottom of the table.

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally with new owner Brad Galinson (61630131)
Gillingham chairman Paul Scally with new owner Brad Galinson (61630131)

Harris is hoping for additions this month, pinpointing their next league match on January 14 as the date he wants a new-look team in place. Crawley striker Tom Nichols has joined but he needs others.

He said: “That’s three games in seven days where there has been nothing between us and three other teams and we have lost all three games, clearly something is wrong. It is either change me (or) change the players, I need to change the mentality of the group

“We are into January, the transfer window is open, we need players in the building ASAP.”

The Gills conceded from a set-piece in the 23rd minute against Stevenage. Clear-cut chances were in short supply for both teams but the promotion-chasers were more clinical. Gills have only scored seven in half a season of fixtures and that lack of quality in attack was evident again.

Stuart O'Keefe in action for the Gills at Stevenage
Stuart O'Keefe in action for the Gills at Stevenage

Harris continued: “It was a really poor goal that we conceded, again add that to the list. We have not conceded many goals over the course of the season in the league but it is a poor one, individually it is really poor.

“You have to stand up (against Stevenage’s set-plays), man-up and be counted and they are really, really good at what they do, I fully respect that. One moment they get the better of us in their penalty area and their other chances come from distance and (goalkeeper Glenn Morris) makes simple saves.

“We have a one versus one at 0-0, MacDonald gets in a great position, a great through ball, we should score and we don’t. We then have a free header five minutes after they score and we don’t score, that is the difference for us and why we are bottom of the league.”

Carl Piergianni beat Will Wright in the air for what turned out to be a winner.

“It is just desire to head the ball,” said the Gills manager. “Piergianni is a top centre half at this level defensively but in the opposing box he will score double figures this year, because he attacks the ball when he sees it. He was the most dominant player on the football pitch all game, the first ball up he won a lot against Mika (Mandron), and in both boxes he won a lot of first contacts.

“Individual duels, sometimes you lose them and you need a little but of luck of a save, it didn’t go our way. Clear cut chances - one for them and two for us. We came out second best again.

Callum Harriott takes on his man after coming off the bench
Callum Harriott takes on his man after coming off the bench
Dom Jefferies on the ball for Gillingham at Stevenage
Dom Jefferies on the ball for Gillingham at Stevenage

“We have won two out of 23 games, it isn’t good enough, I have to accept responsibility as a manager, it is my team, I put it out there, the players are the players but I put the team out and we haven’t been good enough and what comes my way I understand.

“We need to improve the group, it is clear to see that we have papered over the cracks sometimes in games, we haven't scored enough goals and we have conceded some poor goals but our goals against record is a lot better than a lot of teams in the division. It is not like we are conceding bundles but as I said to the boys, it is hard when you are at the back when you are not scoring upfront because if you concede one you are always living on that knife edge, if we concede one we might not score.

“There has to be a mentality that we had last year when I took over, if we couldn’t win a game it was going to be 0-0, we had it in spells at the start of the season and I don’t know where that has gone the last 10 games. We have to have a mindset as a team that we can’t concede, don’t get beat.”

New owner Brad Galinson was at the game on Monday, along with the rest of the club’s board. Harris was hoping to catch up with the club bosses to find out how their pursuit of fresh players is coming along. It’s a must for Harris.

He said: “I don’t think about my position, I don’t worry about that, I’ve gone past worrying about that, all I am worried about is the club and what is best for the team.

“While I am in charge of the football club, as I have done since I walked into the building, as I have done at Cardiff and Millwall, it’s to leave it in a better place. Over a period of time I want to make the football club better and I always understand decisions have to be made.

“This football club will be better in six months, it will be better in 12 months, just in the short term it has to do what it has to do to make sure it is in the Football League, come the start of May.

“I have made my feelings very clear to the whole football club that we have to change by the 14th of January (when Gills return to league action against Hartlepool). To have any chance of being successful then we have to be a different group.”

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More