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Rotherham United 5 Gillingham 1 - Steve Evans reacts to heavy defeat on return to the New York Stadium


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Gillingham boss Steve Evans had no complaints over the heavy defeat to Rotherham.

His depleted side took an early lead through Olly Lee but an injury to Max Ehmer was the start of things going wrong. They ended the night on the end of a 5-1 hiding.

Report: Rotherham 5 Gillingham 1

“The first 20 minutes we were by far the better side,” said the Gills boss. “The shape and the system that we came with (switching to wing-backs) probably caught them out a little bit.

“We enjoyed good spells of possession, scored a goal, perhaps unfortunate not to have a second and they are always going to counter-attack with the quality they have got. Ten minutes before half-time was pivotal, our reserve goalkeeper makes a howler and they equalise. I couldn’t quite see it, but watching live (their second goal) was going wide but then hits someone and goes into the net and it’s a different game then.

“Paul (Warne, the Rotherham boss) will know his team weren’t at it first half.”

Rotherham had the lead and with Gills already losing Max Ehmer to injury, they had further issues when John Akinde was forced off at the break as well.

Evans said: “We are having to put academy kids on the pitch and you could see what we finished with.

“We knew the option (to replace Akinde) was Gerald Sithole and then Jacko came off [he was sent off]. We had to sure it up a bit, young Bailey (Akehurst) doesn’t help us with the goal again but he will learn, these kids are getting learning experience but it is like me trying to drive when I was 12.

“You cannot drive when you are 12 and we are trying to play them in League 1. We are trying to play four (youngsters), not one. I thought young Harvey (Lintott) came on and had a go, did really well, his body tells you he is a man, a bit like Dan Phillips in that sense.

It wasn't a happy return to Rotherham for Gillingham manager Steve Evans
It wasn't a happy return to Rotherham for Gillingham manager Steve Evans

“It is about how you get beat and how we get beat, we have had to put four kids on the pitch in unfortunate circumstances.

“As much as it is a great experience for them they are not learning, not when you are getting mauled like that, it is a bad learning curve isn’t it? It is like learning to drive at 12 years old on a skid pan, you have no chance.

“The second half was a long second half for us. I have no complaints with the second penalty, absolutely it was, the first one we need to look at it.

“I have no complaints, They are a really good side, Paul has done a terrific job. They are bringing the boy Ferguson off the bench, do they think I am Daffy Duck? I know what these guys earn and what Tony Stewart (the Rotherham chairman) pays them. That is what happens when you are investing and you are a club in League 1 that wants to be successful.”

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