Martin gives players credit for comeback....
Martin Allen praised his side’s `never say die` attitude after equalizing late on to earn a 2-2 draw against Plymouth Argyle at Home Park on Saturday.
Adam Barrett brought the scores level with a superb header in the 88th minute, and the Gills came close to stealing all three points when Adam Birchall’s effort was cleared off the line with just seconds left to play.
Plymouth had gone ahead twice thanks to goals from Curtis Nelson and Luke Young, but Ben Strevens and Barrett struck back to earn a second draw in the space of five days.
Martin was delighted with the resilience his players showed and was pleased with a point.
Following the game he said: “You have to give our players a huge amount of credit for the comeback. They just don’t know when they are beaten, they keep going.
“They are relentless and it was a great point for our club on our travels. They certainly played with a lot of passion and enthusiasm and they gave us a right good game and there’s no doubt about that.
“They got the break they deserved and we nearly won it at the end when one was cleared off the line.
“Adam [Barrett] has got a great record over the last 10 years of scoring goals – he’s usually between the six and the nine mark and that’s one of the main reasons we brought him here, he gets goals.
“Not only he is a great leader, a great captain and a great professional, but it’s just typical that our captain stepped up when we needed it and it would have been amazing if we had won it right at the end.
“That’s testament to the character and personalities that we have got. They keep going and the subs that we made have come through again.
“The players we have are very receptive – we don’t have a go at them, we tweak it and hopefully help them.
“What a great point, it was a good point against Cheltenham when I thought we played really well. It won’t always be great play from our team but the lads who have come in have been fantastic.”
Ben Strevens scored his first league goal for the club late in the first half, and Martin was full of support for the striker who has had limited chances this season.
He said: “Ben is a top quality striker – he would probably be one that perhaps should have played more because he gets chances and he finishes. He has had to be patient and we have had to help him and support him.
“I suppose it justifies why he is here, he gets a chance and he scores. He has been involved in other promotion winning teams and he is just receptive to what we ask him to do.
“It looked like we were down and out – the players stepped it up. It was a brilliant cross to the back post, a great knock across by Myles and there is your captain steaming in with a header where the boots are flying to smash it In the back of the net.
“Everyone just erupted and what a fantastic response. It’s a different kind of pleasure and I enjoyed it.
“It would have been nice if Birchall had put it in the bottom corner but it was cleared off the line and to come away with a 3-2 victory you could say it would have been a robbery, but fair play to the lads they did great.
“There are no lightweights and everyone will be off Sunday/Monday to recharge the batteries and next week we play Morecambe at home before Exeter so its two games in four days so we can up our game again.
“Cheltenham was a tough game Tuesday and today was difficult and a long journey, although it’s the same for everyone in the league I guess, and now we have Morecambe at home and the Gills will be flying for that.”
Martin made a substitution at half time with Charlie Lee being replaced by Myles Weston, and the manager was quick to explain why this was.
He said: “My mistake, I made an error and it was too early to put Charlie in. He trained very well at the start of the week ad I thought he was ready to go in but he was coughing at half time like he was smoking 60 a day.
“I made the mistake, I should have waited and I shouldn’t have played him,” he said. “My error of judgement, it was nothing to do with how bad he played but I shouldn’t have played him, simple as that.”
The Gills bench was full of varying options and Martin says he and his staff believe in all of them and will give all of them time to show their worth to the side during the season.
He added:” Looking over your shoulder you had Kedwell, you look over and there is Birchall and there’s Myles Weston. I keep saying it but we have all of these players and I said to Mr. Scally we are going to play them all and we have to believe in them and back them.
“They are such a special group of people – they make me so proud, they all respect each other and they work as hard as they can and they are enjoying what they are doing and they deserve a huge amount of credit.
“They all defend, they all attack and they all win – and sometimes we only draw.
“Its amazing isn’t it? We said in France that we are all going to defend and we’ll do it as hard as we can to stop the other team from scoring.
“Sometimes that takes forwards away from our goal but they are our first line of defence and they do it brilliantly. They don’t get the credit they deserve, people like Burton and Kedwell.
“When we go forward our full backs get forward like wingers and when the set plays come we have good characters. More goals need to come from them but they will because we practice them all the time.”
Finally Martin provided a brief update on three of the players that didn’t make the trip due to injury.
He said: “Charlie Allen got the all clear to start training but its bad news with Joe Martin – he needs to rest for a month and can have no contact.
“Until it’s started to repair he can’t do anything so that’s very frustrating.
“Bradley Dack has bruising and it will just take time – there is no more swelling.”