Gills Manager reacts to 3-1 victory at Underhill...
Gillingham Manager Martin Allen said he was `absolutely delighted` to take all three points from Underhill after defeating bottom of the league Barnet 3-1 on Saturday.
Jack Payne, Deon Burton and Danny Kedwell all scored in the first half to put the visitors in a commanding position, and despite the best efforts of the hosts, they were unable to get back into the game as the defence stood firm.
The result means the Gills remain top of League Two and are still unbeaten in the league this season.
Martin was understandably happy to have taken another victory and said after the game:
“It was always going to be a tough game and we have all seen over the years with the top v bottom scenario.
“With me coming back here it was a special day personally and it was a banana skin waiting to happen, the players applied themselves very well.
“Going 2-0 up so early didn’t actually help us that much because I suppose a little bit of complacency set in and Barnet have match winners in their team and some good players so I knew they would be a threat at some stage during the afternoon.
“We stood firm and defended as a team - we worked hard in our units and our supporters gave great backing on the far side. I sat in the technical area and there must have been at least 1,000 fans signing their hearts out.”
The first goal came from Jack Payne who scored in the same fixture last season, and the manager was delighted to see his midfielder on the score sheet.
He said: “It was a great strike from Jack and we have asked him at times to play more advanced and to push on and use the quality of his play and I’m delighted for him.
“He missed a bit of pre-season and he wasn’t well – there is more to come from him without a shadow of a doubt in terms of goals and assists.”
Despite the fact the visitors were 3-1 up at the break, Martin said the game was by no means over and plenty of work still had to be done to stop Barnet coming back into the match.
He said: “We didn’t feel it was done by any means and we said at half time we wanted to keep a clean sheet and we also wanted to score more goals.
“We defended really well, stood firm and on the counter attack we had three or four good chances but it wasn’t to be. I’m absolutely delighted to get three points here today.”
Above anything else Martin was pleased to see a good team spirit amongst his squad and considers himself fortunate to be working with the current group of players.
He added: “They have got character, there is no doubt about that and there are no lightweights.
“If people are not pulling their weight the lads step in – you should have seen the players that were on the subs bench in the dressing room, they patted everyone on the back and shook their hands and that’s a measure of our team spirit and unity.
“It’s a good feeling to be part of an honest, decent group of professional footballers and they are good people and I’m lucky that Mr. Scally has given me the opportunity to come here and put a team together like this.”
Martin was Barnet’s manager for the last three games of last season and was able to save them from the drop, and admitted after surviving relegation that he felt he could take the job on permanently.
He said: “It was magic, the last time I was here was when we beat Wimbledon 3-0 in the penultimate game of the season and this place was packed with fans and that was the first game back here for me after I had left to go to Notts County the year before.
“It was a day I will never forget – the players were fantastic, the supporters were fantastic and I was very proud. To stay up against Burton on the last day of the season and win 2-1 was amazing and I was so happy.
“I really did want the job here and I wanted to be the manager of Barnet – I had it in my mind that I could do it but I had an email telling me that I wasn’t getting the job. I wanted to take it on and thought I owed them something as I walked out at a critical stage.”
The Manager let slip that he is still hoping to add to his squad with a loan signing when the window opens next week, and believes an experienced addition would benefit his squad.
He said: “We have some fantastic senior players – we singed Adam Barrett and we have Andy Frampton, Deon Burton and Danny Kedwell and we are looking to bring in another player of experience and stature who knows how to play the game.”
Finally Martin revealed that he has a part-time scout working for the club with former Barnet manager Giuliano Grazioli regularly attending matches to spot potential signings.
He said: “He’s been doing scouting for us – Giuliano has been a magnificent servant for Barnet and he got an email in the summer to say he wasn’t working here anymore. He’s a good person, he has good knowledge, he’s as honest as the day is long and he’s been helping with recruitment.
“He’s had to get a job aswell but when he can he goes out to watch games for us and he’s a great guy to have around. He’s great with people and he’s a good acquisition.”