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Gillingham manager Neil Harris reacts to their 2-0 defeat against Dover Athletic

Gillingham bossed the possession at Dover but were unable to make it count.

Boss Neil Harris is confident they will improve in both boxes over the coming weeks.

Gillingham boss Neil Harris and Dover's Andy Hessenthaler in conversation at Crabble Picture: KPI
Gillingham boss Neil Harris and Dover's Andy Hessenthaler in conversation at Crabble Picture: KPI

Report: Dover 2 Gillingham 0

New signing Elkan Baggott lost possession as Dover opened the scoring and a clumsy challenge from trialist defender Reiss Greenidge led to the second. The Gills, meanwhile, were unable to capitalise on their own encouraging forward play.

Harris said: “Dover had three efforts on target all game and scored two of them, I have no complaints with that, first half we moved the ball really well at times and created chances.

“I said to the boys there is no difference whether you are playing Dover or Championship team, or Premier League, both boxes are key, today (Saturday) in the penalty area we didn’t get enough bodies in the box for that tap-in.

“There is loads for the boys to work on, it has been a really tough week for the fellas, it has been enjoyable, I really enjoyed it, it was good to see Andy Hessenthaler (the Dover manager) and his lads and I think it was a really good workout for them as well, they would have got what they wanted out of it without the ball.

"We moved the ball well and probably had 80% of possession, when you have that much possession you are going to make the odd error and the lead up to the first goal, that is just elements where young players just have to eradicate those errors now rather than the season.”

Gillingham played the ball around nicely at times but Harris knows they also need another outlet, something departed striker Vadaine Oliver gave them. It’s an area he’s working on.

He said: “In League 2 next season we are not going to be able to make 1,000 passes a game, it is not possible, teams are going to press you like Dover did, really cleverly, set traps for you, and it is really difficult and so you then have to play forward, we then need a No.9 upfront that is going to be able to compete on the first ball which we haven’t really had at the moment, it is important we get the balance right.

“The first two games has been about fitness, about us trying to get our patterns with the football, very few messages without the ball. Would it have made a difference today? No, not leading to the two goals, one is a slight error giving the ball away on a drying pitch and the second is a clumsy foul, so that happens in football, you can’t stop that.

“Structurally, I am really pleased with a lot of the football that was played, really pleased. I thought we moved the ball brilliantly at times, against a stubborn opponent.

“Unless you are Liverpool or Man City how many teams in the Premier League can you see breaking down a nine-man defence? Not many. We found that tough.

“We got in really good areas and they are the moments when you get in those areas you have got to be clinical and I think we had five first contacts in the six-yard box and the ball didn’t find the net, so that is that little bit of sharpness that will come in the coming weeks.”

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