Development coach praises young team after Watford defeat...

Gills Development Manager Mark Patterson says he was pleased with the amount of chances his side created in the 4-1 loss to Watford at MEMS Priestfield on Tuesday evening.

Gianfranco Zola brought a strong, experienced side to Priestfield but the Gills also fielded some senior pros within the starting line-up with Andy Frampton, Ben Strevens and Danny Kedwell all getting minutes under their belt prior to the first team game against Rotherham this Saturday.

The visitors began the game brightly, and although Patterson’s team did get back in to the match, they went in at the interval 2-1 down after Bradley Dack had put the Gills back in to contention.

Watford scored two goals late in the second half as the hosts went looking for an equaliser, but on another day it could easily have been a win for the development squad.

Speaking exclusively to the club’s official website Mark said after the game:

“I think, overall, it was a good performance. We came up against a very strong team who gave us a good display of attacking football.

“We coped with it well; we had a sticky period to start with where we had to adjust to them playing three centre halves which is something we don’t come up against a lot so we had to get used to that.

“Once we did we had a good spell in the first half and made a couple of good chances. Unfortunately we gave away goals when we have had good possession of the ball and it shows if you give the ball away in areas like that then teams will punish you.

“Everybody had a go and I am sure they all enjoyed themselves playing out there.”

Mark was asked if he felt the side could have won the game if they had taken those first half chances.

He replied: “We could have done, there is no doubt that their passing and movement play was excellent and their use of the ball was very good. They had wide men drifting off the lines and creating space and it was difficult for us at times to pick up and get used to but that’s something the lads have to adjust to.

“We created as many good chances, if not better chances, as they did over the 90 minutes. Keds had one early on; Bradley put one past the post and then a free kick went wide.

“We scored a good goal with both full backs involved. Jack Evans crossed from the right with Joe Carter making a great header at the back post to keep it in and Bradley Dack hooked it in so that got us to 2-1 at half time.

“In the second half we made more good chances. Nathan Nyafli had a header which went past the post; Alex Brown had a shot which the keeper saved and Jack Evans had a shot too so we created a lot of chances and on another night we could have won the game but I’m not too disappointed.

“For people like Devante McKain it was the first time he has played here and he did well alongside Andy Frampton. He talked to him, organised him and put him in the right areas because it’s not easy when you are playing against a team like that when you have people trying to drag you around the pitch and all of that flair.

“That must come from the manager because he wasn’t a bad player either! He was running the team tonight so it just shows what he puts in to the game and he really enjoyed it. “

Mark was happy to see that some of the younger players were accompanied by senior pros, and he felt this helped as the side settled in to playing under the floodlights.

He said: “We had experienced pros out there and one thing we said to them before the game that it’s about their attitude to the game and it was first class. Andy Frampton, Ben Strevens, Keds and Payney have played a lot of games between them and their attitude was excellent and that sets a good example for some of the younger lads coming through.

“For them they found it as something different as our lads get after them and for their players its development aswell, but overall Gianfranco was happy and hopefully we can have another fixture in the New Year.

“If you look at the game as a whole we created a lot of chances and we didn’t take them so there are a lot of positives and we need to try and adjust to those and make sure we are better next time.

“Every little bit is a stepping stone to the next level and if they keep improving and keep working hard then they might just be ready when the manager needs them.”