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Sunderland 4 Gillingham 2: Reaction from Gills boss Steve Lovell

By Luke Cawdell

Defeat was hard to take for the Gills on Tuesday night.

Sunderland won an entertaining match thanks to two second half penalties.

It was a bitter blow for the Gills having well matched their higher-placed opponents throughout the 90 minutes.

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Gillingham manager Steve Lovell at Sunderland Picture: Ady Kerry (7296203)
Gillingham manager Steve Lovell at Sunderland Picture: Ady Kerry (7296203)

Report: Sunderland 4 Gillingham 2

Boss Steve Lovell said: “I thought we competed for the whole of the game and it was just disappointing to have lost the game the way we did.

“We were in the game until the second penalty went in and we didn’t have enough time to get back into it. Overall, I said to the boys, I am so disappointed for them because we deserved to get something out of the game.”

Sunderland were twice pegged back by the Gills in the first half but Lovell’s men were unable to reply to the penalties, both coming in quick succession.

Gillingham celebrate Tom Eaves' goal Picture: Ady Kerry (7300379)
Gillingham celebrate Tom Eaves' goal Picture: Ady Kerry (7300379)

Lovell had no complaints over the decisions.

“The referee has given them and there is no point arguing about it,” he said.

“It’s done. Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t but when you are down the bottom these things tend to go the way of the other team.

“The referee thinks they are penalties so they are penalties.”

The odds were stacked against the Gills on Tuesday but Lovell was always confident his team could get something. During his time as manager he has claimed first ever Gills wins at Portsmouth and Charlton.

It would have been another first had they beaten Sunderland but it wasn’t to be.

“I expected to get something,” he said.

“If we didn’t there would be no point going. We had a game plan, had the confidence to stick to it and had a right go. I am just so disappointed we didn’t get anything out of it because we deserved to. I don’t think anyone could deny us that.

“We were in the game, the game was very open. (Sunderland’s) game against Accrington on Friday was open and I felt there were spaces out there we could exploit and we did.”

Lovell was pleased to see his front-two back on the scoresheet,

Mark Byrne on the ball for Gillingham Picture: Ady Kerry (7300369)
Mark Byrne on the ball for Gillingham Picture: Ady Kerry (7300369)

It was Eaves’ first open-play since mid-December and only a fourth of the season for Brandon Hanlan.

“I am pleased the two forwards scored,” he said.

“Brandon has played well without a goal. The two of them caused problems, especially Brandon, I am glad he got his goal.

“You go down twice and you come back twice and you silence the crowd a bit second half but their support is fantastic and gives them a lift. When the third goal went in we had a mountain to climb and when the fourth went in it was too late.

“The boys kept going and they gave everything. They couldn’t give any more.”

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