The Gills boss gives us his views from pitchside at PlainmoorFollowing the game at a misty Plainmoor last night, Gillingham manager Martin Allen gave us his verdict.
He said “I thought the lads had a real go, to lose to a 40-yard free-kick from out on the touchline up into the top stanchion/corner where up until that point in the second-half they hadn’t been near our goal – they’d had a bit of possession.
“Then the lad got another with a 30-yarder that got deflected over our goalkeeper and into the top of the net so that was a little hard to take, although they had a couple of chances in the first half, where they could have gone ahead and so could we.
“I suppose through the season there are going to be nights where it is going to happen like that but to lose to two goals like that is hard to take. We don’t mind people shooting from that far away. I don’t attach any of the blame to the goalkeeper, it’s just one of those things and a shot of nature I guess.
“Prior to that, they hadn’t been anywhere near our goal (in the second-half). But that’s the way it goes sometimes. We have to take it on the chin.
“They beat us, they were in the play-offs last year this lot, so to come down here and play as we did, with as many changes as we made to freshen it up, I thought we played some great football, some really good stuff, looked good, played well, but we didn’t come away with the points.”
When questioned about the game being a physical encounter Martin added “Every game we play is going to be a physical encounter. We are not top of the league through luck. Wherever we go we have got to earn the right to play.
“I thought our players stood up to it, stood up to the challenge, they battled, they competed, they had a real go and they ran themselves into the ground as they do every week.
“That’s why we have had a run like we had. We’ve had six away wins, which is a fantastic achievement.
“These players have got great character and determination, they are very well organised, they do a great job for our club – tonight we have to take it on the chin, get on the bus and move on to the next away game, the sell-out for our supporters on Saturday at Wimbledon.”
Then on the question of the performance of referee Brendan Malone, Martin continued “The ref see’s it how he sees it, it’s really difficult for the man in the middle to be honest, it all happens so quick, the ref does what he does, I thought he done all right to be fair.
“There are no complaints from us about the referee. I do my utmost not to bring the referee into it , all we can work with is our players and how well we do – so no complaints.”
Back to the game and the manager said “We’ve got great characters let’s be honest, such a great squad of players, the boys that have played tonight [Tuesday] have all played in constantly winning teams.
“I slept very well last night and very comfortably in the hotel with the team we picked. We had some young players playing here tonight and it was a real test for them.
“We are going to need those young players towards the end of the season, there is no doubt about it.
“We may as well start preparing them now because the last few months of the season are going to be magic at Gillingham.
“We might have to take a few hits on the way, the number one and only priority is to go up. Part of my job is also to bring these young lads through, they’ve done fantastically well in the first three months and there is no doubt some of these boys will have a massive future with this club.
“We had to make a couple of changes, one or two were injured, so they couldn’t get out there tonight but hold your hands up, say well done to Torquay, they’ve won it but as the away team we’ve done pretty well here, it grinds that we haven’t come away with a point.”
Next on the agenda was Martin talking about Robbie Findley whose loan deal from Nottingham Forest is set to expire after Saturday’s game – “Robbie played really well and he just couldn’t finish it off.
“That was the forward line we played away at Port Vale, with Burton and Findley and we won 2-0.
“Both lads have done fantastically well when we played the second-placed team in our division away from home, when we won, so that was part of that in the decision to play the pair of them.
“Danny Kedwell, on Saturday, absolutely ran himself into the ground, Myles Weston has been out injured and the plan was to always play him for half-an-hour whatever the score.
“Most people will probably guess that we will make some changes again on Saturday.”
When questioned about Michael Freiter, Martin was complimentary about the youngster - “I have got great reports from Darren Hare. I get reports from him every Monday morning on how the youth team have been playing and then every Thursday morning, first thing, Patto reports on how the reserves played on the Tuesday and Freiter had done really well.
“I saw him a few weeks ago at Tonbridge, I thought he looked very accomplished and he is only 16.
“He was only coming down as an extra squad player but Charlie Allen had to go to hospital yesterday afternoon, he’s got a fracture in his hand, Charlie was going to be involved tonight but we had to leave him out.
“The young lad was only coming for the experience, like we have done a lot with our youth players through the season so far, I think half-a-dozen have been with us.
“Freiter has done well, if we had been three or four up then he would have gone on.”