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Welling United 3 Gillingham 3: Reaction from Gills boss Steve Evans


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Gillingham’s lack of numbers showed at Welling on Saturday and boss Steve Evans is working hard to bolster their options.

Evans raided the club’s youth squad to ensure he could name a different team in each half at Welling, fielding all of his available senior pros and supplementing the numbers with seven teenagers.

Gillingham involved several youth players at Welling United Picture: Keith Gillard
Gillingham involved several youth players at Welling United Picture: Keith Gillard

Gillingham fielded youth players Bailey Akehurst, Freddie Carter, Ethan Smith, Sam Gale, Josh Chambers and Joseph Gbode while first year pro Harvey Lintott played 80 minutes.

Welling proved a stern test for the Gills, with Steve Lovell’s National South side fighting back from two down to lead 3-2, only to then concede to a late John Akinde strike.

Evans accepted there were sloppy moments, in what was his senior side’s first run-out of the summer.

He said: “We are happy with certain aspects and not so happy with others, we started and finished the first half really well, we got a bit sloppy in the full-back areas and central midfield and that is youth, but it’s not to apportion blame, they did great, especially on the left side with young Bailey (Akehurst) who has a really bright future.

Gillingham against Welling United in pre-season - youth player Freddie Carter played in central defence Picture: Keith Gillard
Gillingham against Welling United in pre-season - youth player Freddie Carter played in central defence Picture: Keith Gillard

“We played some good stuff, scored a couple and made a couple where we could have gone further ahead, got a bit sloppy, the first goal we were sloppy defensively after an easy throw-in to feet, it was a great strike but was highly preventable.

“The second one was just a mistake, we gave it away cheap, one ball into feet and Jack should be able to give it back but he under hits it, the surface hasn’t helped, but then it was 2-2. The boys were disappointed which is a good sign.

“We have got 14 players and people can see we only had Robbie McKenzie missing from the group, everyone else was playing and it shows how light we are, but we know that.

“We are not going to make signings for the sake of it, we will make signings that we think can help the group, but people can see, if you look at the new additions that we have brought in, (goalkeeper) Chapman was commanding and good, no issues, out of all of the new signings Danny Lloyd was probably the bright spark, Ben Reeves had a wonderful pass in the last minute to pick out Akinde for the late equaliser.

“We can see how David Tutonda will play, when he gets a bit sharper and understands how we play some more.

Harvey Lintott in action for the Gills at Welling Picture: Keith Gillard
Harvey Lintott in action for the Gills at Welling Picture: Keith Gillard

“Some of the boys from last season are finding their feet, some of them are already there, Oliver has come back in and looks sharp, scored with a brilliant finish and I thought Dempsey was good in spells. Olly Lee was good in spells but gave it away a little cheap, but that is our first minutes, we have not had any practice games, we have just been running and ball work, running and ball work.

“We will mix and match again at Dartford (on Tuesday night), nothing will change, obviously the XI will change but it will be split between experience and youth, will get a bit more serious against QPR (on Friday night) and maybe use youth later in the day.

“I have no other option, I have 14 players. We are close to two or three (new signings), we are almost at the last line, whether we are doing this or not.

“There is lot of work that needs to be done. If we can cut out silly mistakes, move the ball a bit sharper, we will be fine. We need to add to the group, we need 18-20 senior players, we can’t be turning up with five 16 or 17-year-olds on the pitch, if we do that against league opponents we will suffer heavily.

“We have tried to be busy all summer. What we have tried to do is get value for money, we have lost out on some, which has been well documented, we have lost out on some because people have come out with their cheque books. If they do that and offer 70-80 or £100,000 more than what we offer then we know what is going to happen, those players will make those decisions.

“There are other good players still in the market, others looking for the right club and we have to do our business properly in the next four weeks. If we don’t get our recruitment right, you suffer for the season, but with our recruitment so far, I have not been disappointed with one player.

“Hopefully I will have 18-19 first team players that should be supplemented with two or three of the kids we saw on Saturday. There is some talent here, we had 16-17 year-olds on the pitch against a decent National South side, with plenty of experience between them, so we’re really pleased.”

Report: Welling United 3 Gillingham 3

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