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Manager Steve Evans says lack of natural goalscorer costing his Gillingham side a top-three spot in League 1

Gillingham would be a top-three side in League 1 with a natural finisher, according to Steve Evans.

The Gills boss watched his side dominate at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday but they were unable to make it count, losing 1-0.

Gillingham striker Brandon Hanlan couldn't take advantage of his chances against AFC Wimbledon Picture: Ady Kerry
Gillingham striker Brandon Hanlan couldn't take advantage of his chances against AFC Wimbledon Picture: Ady Kerry

The Gills had 16 attempts at goal in the game but only three on target as Wimbledon were let off the hook.

It’s been the story of Gillingham’s season so far.

“We played magnificently and lost,” said a frustrated Evans.

“We will get back on the training ground, work hard and we’ve said it before – publicly and privately – we know we need a goalscorer.

“We would be top three with a goalscorer. We’ve got them, but not a natural one.”

The Gills will be keen to change that in the January transfer window.

Evans said: “We are trying to find one but we know they cost a lot of money and we don’t have any money.

"We’ve got the lowest budget in the league, that’s a fact, but we will continue to work hard and see what we can do.

“I keep saying about the budget but nobody listens because I am here and that’s the bottom line.”

Brandon Hanlan was the midweek hero in the FA Cup victory over Sunderland with the winning goal, but it wouldn’t go in for him on Saturday.

“He should be walking away with the match ball,” Evans said.

“He was absolutely magnificent but we said to him, if he wants to be up there as a top League 1 striker he needs to sometimes pass the ball into the net rather than taking the leather off it.

“He will learn. He’s young, we love him to bits. I can’t fault the players’ performance and their determination.”

The result was a vital victory for Wimbledon as they look to maintain their status in League 1.

“It was a smash and grab from them and they were the home team,” Evans added.

“You could see what it meant to them at time up. Thinking about big cup wins, about beating Premier League opposition, that’s what it looked like as I walked off.

“Nobody will go and dominate Wimbledon like we did.

“I have been at Posh, Leeds and Mansfield, we have beaten teams five and six and been dominant but they had their first entry into our box after 20 minutes and the second on 38. They had a little spell, but other than that it’s been total domination.

“Credit to Wimbledon, they dug in and got a result, their team worked hard.”

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