Gills Manager delighted with performance...
Martin Allen described Gillingham’s second half performance against Preston as `absolutely fantastic` following the 2-0 defeat in the second round of the FA Cup at Deepdale.
Goals from Jeffrey Monakana and Stuart Beavon were enough to send the home side through, but only after a resilient, hard working performance from the visitors following the interval which, on another day, could have put the Gills in the pot for the third round draw.
Deon Burton struck the post with a penalty early in the second half and he went close again, only to find keeper Thorsten Stuckman in great form.
Martin said his players had given everything they could and hopes to come up against Preston again next season, hopefully in a higher division.
Speaking after the game he said: “I thought in the first 10 minutes we were slow coming out but I thought in the next 83, 84 minutes we were absolutely superb.
“We looked more than comfortable going in to half time when it looked like we were only going to be 1-0 and I thought all of us would have said that’s not too bad. We had plenty to build and work on.
“But that goal just a few minutes before half time was why I decided to make two changes and put two wingers as full backs and go out to try and attack them. If you go out you might aswell go out in style and attack them and that’s what we tried to do.
“I thought the lads were terrific second half, absolutely fantastic.
“They came out and got a penalty, unfortunately that didn’t go in. We had a few other chances in the first half to equalize at 1-1 and things would have been so, so different.
“They kept going right until the end and we had chances right in to the last few minutes of the game and we had crosses, corners and bits and pieces go in to their box but we just couldn’t manage to get the goal that made all the difference, sometimes these things happen.
“For a team in the division above I think we gave a very good account of ourselves, we tried to play some good passing football, keep it on the grass and shift it around the pitch but we just didn’t manage to score.
“We’ve made our mark, this is where we want to be coming back to next year, win and take them on, we can and will.”
Martin took off Callum Davies and Joe Martin at half time in order to go with a more attacking approach, and he was quick to point out they were tactical changes and not based on performance.
He said: “Callum Davies is only 19 – in no way shape or form will I or anyone involved with us criticise him. With Tom Flanagan being injured Callum has had to step up and play regularly now and last week he had three games in a week which is tough as a 19-year-old when you are top of the league as there is a different expectancy and it’s tough for them.
“Connor Essam has had a bit of a thigh injury so I haven’t been able to put him in the team and he would have played if he was fit but in no way, shape or form would anyone ever criticise Callum Davies.
“He’s been absolutely fantastic for us and he’s been a revelation. He’s a brilliant kid to work with, he trains so hard and he loves Gillingham Football Club. I wouldn’t even say he made an error, [Davies having been dispossessed shortly before the second goal] they scored from that part of the game.
“We said at half time let’s go at them, we didn’t come here to play all defensive did we? We played two centre forwards with Myles Weston on the left side of midfield and we came here to attack. We didn’t play 4-5-1 with backs to the wall and play on the counter; we played all out and go for it right from the first minute.
“That’s what we have done from the start of the season and will do until the end of April. What we did at half time was take off our defenders and put wider attacking players on, we were 2-0 down in the FA Cup.
“Some people might say I was mad, some would say I was brave, others would say if we had scored that penalty and gone on to win it, which I thought we would have done, you’re a genius. That’s how it works in this job.”