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Gillingham manager Steve Evans reacts to Carabao Cup victory over Coventry City on penalties

Manager Steve Evans admitted beaten opponents Coventry City had reason to feel hard done by but praised his Gillingham side’s unwavering belief.

The Gills looked out of the tie at 1-0 but in the 94th minute they won a penalty and Jordan Graham stuck it away to send the match to a penalty shoot-out, which Evans’ side then won after converting all of their attempts.

Gills attack the Coventry goal Picture: Barry Goodwin
Gills attack the Coventry goal Picture: Barry Goodwin

Championship side City missed two one-on-ones early in the game, hitting the post with the second effort, but had the lead right up until the death after substitute Max Biamou headed in.

“We hung onto a cup tie and got through,” said the manager, whose pleasure at winning was overshadowed by an serious injury to vice captain Stuart O’Keefe.

“First half they missed a couple of good chances and they should have comfortably been infront but if you don’t take your chances you can pay a price.

“We knew it was going to be tough, we knew they could be expansive, they pop it around, first 20 they were electric, they opened us up a couple of times and we rode our luck. The game became a bit scrappy.

Matty Willock in action for Gillingham Picture: Barry Goodwin
Matty Willock in action for Gillingham Picture: Barry Goodwin

“After the goal we almost took the phrase, ‘we’re out the cup tie’, we changed our system and personnel and said, ‘let’s have a go’. You have to keep that belief and I said that to the players ‘keep believing, keep passing, keep putting balls in the box.’

“If Vadaine Oliver didn’t get fouled (for the penalty) he probably would have scored, because it was going right onto his head. I thought the big man for 60 minutes was terrific.

Scott Robertson is challenged by Will Bapaga Picture: Barry Goodwin
Scott Robertson is challenged by Will Bapaga Picture: Barry Goodwin

“We didn’t get good fortune because it was a clear penalty but we got it, we have gone through on penalties and as we all know that’s in the lap of the gods.

“We said before the cup tie that we were going to need some character. Mark (Robins, the Coventry boss) made changes but seven or eight of them played lots of League 1 football last season when they were tremendous.

“It was probably harsh on Coventry, they are a good side, fantastic players on the pitch and I have always said that he (Robins)is a really good manager. His teams play a really good style of football, and they gave us some problems.”

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