Martin Allen reflects on the 1-0 win at Adams Park
Gills Manager Martin Allen said he couldn’t have asked any more from his players following the 1-0 win over Wycombe at Adams Park on Tuesday evening.
A 55th minute goal from left back Joe Martin was enough to seal the points after a well earnt win which leaves the club 2nd in the table after just two matches.
Tom Flanagan was sent off in the second half for a second bookable offence which meant the defence had to dig deep in the closing stages, but Martin praised the players for the way they applied themselves, particularly after the interval.
He said: “It was always going to be hard here – they drew with Watford last week in the cup [after 90 minutes] so we knew it would be tough.
“After the week we had with Bristol City and the hot day Saturday we made five changes – some people would say it was a gamble but we did OK first half and then in the second we went up another level with pace and power and we thoroughly deserved to win.
“This is going to be a squad for us – there is no point asking the Chairman for a big squad with good young players coming through if you’re not going to play them.
“I have to trust them but what a magic second half, it was a fantastic second half performance by the players and it was great to see them celebrating in front of our travelling away supporters who sang their hearts out from start to finish.
“It was a magical second half and a great win.”
The manager has previously said that all members of his squad know their role within the team and how to play if selected, and gave them full credit for limiting the hosts to a limited number of chances.
He said: “Everyone was fully committed and you could see the passion of the players on the bench even though some of them will have been disappointed I guess.
“Fair play to all of the players - it was another good win and another three points on the board.
“The lads know their jobs and if they do them properly they’re very difficult to break down. It won’t always work of course; there will be bits and pieces that don’t go our way but collectively it’s difficult to break down when you have players willing to put a shift in like that.
“They are so honest and committed – they really do care, there are no passengers or yucky attitudes. None of us could ask any more.”
Once the Gills had been reduced to ten men it looked likely that Deon Burton would come on to help hold up the ball in attack, but instead the manager chose to stay faith with the pace and power that put them ahead.
He added: “Deon Burton would have gone on because he’s good at retaining possession which when you have 10 men is important but I decided to go with the other option of keeping the pace up front for the counter attack with Jackman on the left, Allen and Payne in the middle with Charlie Lee over on the right.
“Bradley Dack did really well but I needed something a bit different in the second half which is why I took him off. The kid who came on [Charlie Allen] made the difference to the team in the second half.”
Martin also praised Charlie Lee in particular for his efforts, before then addressing whether Danny Kedwell will keep the captains armband for the foreseeable future.
He said: “Charlie has done great and has played every minute of every game. He has great energy and quality – he’s enjoying his football and enjoying the responsibility that we give him and there’s an awful lot more to come from him.
“He’s a terrific character and we could have made him captain, he was right in there with Danny Kedwell such is his positive attitude around the place. He makes me smile, I enjoy his company and he’s a good person and player.
“Kedwell is captain and if he plays Saturday he will wear the armband and if he doesn’t then someone else will. They are all captains from what I can see and they have been taking responsibility.”
Finally the manager thanked the fans for the part they played, and looked ahead to the weekend’s trip to Dagenham & Redbridge.
He said: “They were mad weren’t they behind the goal, every one of them. The players have worked so hard and I think the fans appreciate it, they can see it and that we have worked on the training ground.
“My family are from Dagenham – it’s a great place and John Still is a really good friend of mine. I am looking forward to seeing him but more importantly I’m looking forward to our team going up there and putting on a really good performance for 95 minutes.
“Dagenham are a tough team to play against, everyone knows that.”