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Salford 0 Gillingham 2: Match highlights and reaction from Gills head coach Stephen Clemence after League 2 win at the Peninsula Stadium

Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence knew what to expect at Salford and was delighted that his men stood up to the challenge.

The Gills had to play to the conditions on a pitch that looked in a bad way before the match and a heavy downpour of hail in the second half left it waterlogged. Clemence’s men also managed to keep 23-goal striker Matt Smith quiet as they ran out 2-0 winners.

Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence delighted after a 2-0 win Picture: Keith Gillard
Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence delighted after a 2-0 win Picture: Keith Gillard

Report: Salford 0 Gillingham 2

Clemence said: “We knew this week after studying Salford that the pitch wasn’t great and it hasn’t stopped raining at the back end of the week. We knew it would be difficult and the boys were aware of that.

“It was never going to be pretty but we had to fight for the ball and we won a lot of duels, we defended absolutely fantastically well and that’s three clean sheets on the spin now.

“I am really proud of the boys’ efforts, the lads that started and those that came on, to score two goals away from home is always a good day as well.”

Conditions went from bad to worse on Saturday at Salford
Conditions went from bad to worse on Saturday at Salford

There was some concern in the second half that the game could be in doubt when the weather turned bad but the players played on.

Clemence said: “It did cross my mind a touch when the hailstones started coming down and the pitch was going white, I was thinking ‘can you see the lines?’

“When you’re winning the game you’re hoping that’s not going to happen but I tried to stay positive that the game would get done but I did have a look up at the sky a couple of times and think ‘come on, this needs to blow over’.

“I remember playing on many a pitch like that back in the day as a midfield player, having a slide around, trying to win the ball back, making sure you roll your sleeves up and get yourself dirty. It was like the good old days! I didn’t mind it.”

League 2 table

A goal at the end of the first half came from Shad Ogie, heading home after Ethan Coleman recycled a cleared corner. Early in the second half Tim Dieng fired home from Ashley Nadesan’s cross to double the lead.

“It was a good all-round team performance,” said the head coach.

“I could have gone around every one of the boys and given them some praise, to a man they stood up to be counted.

“In a game like that where the ball is flying about, it’s hectic and chaotic, you then have to realise when the time is to put your foot on the ball and play some passes, I thought we did well on that first half.

“It got harder as the game went on, with the conditions, but they took responsibility again, which is what I want them to do.

“I know this group are pretty sound at their defending and they put their body on the line and always give their lot and sometimes they have to take that responsibly on the ball. I am starting to see that, I am really proud of them.

“Salford have done really well lately, they had beaten Wrexham and Barrow at home, Karl (Robinson, their head coach) had only lost once in 10 and he is a good manager, I know him well and know a lot of people there, and they have some good players.

“We had to really play well if we were to get anything, we had to play our A-game and we had to take them on, which we did. We had to be the best version of ourselves and I thought to a man they were great, starters and the boys who came on, it really meant something to them, you could tell.”

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