Martin pleased with collective effort despite opening day defeat

Gills Manager Martin Allen said his players gave everything possible and deserved more from their 1-0 defeat at the hands of Colchester at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday.

Andrew Bond came off the bench to net in the dying moments with the hosts having had plenty of chances themselves to clinch all three points on their return to League One.

After the game he said: “I thought we did quite well. We had chances to win and I thought we had a penalty opportunity early in the game.

“Fishy got injured after four minutes so that hasn’t helped us but it was a good debut by Stephen Butcher coming to play at right-back aged eighteen.

“We had a few good chances in the second half but as the game progressed so did they but we’ll have to take that one on the chin; I thought the lads had a real go but it wasn’t to be.”

“I don’t think we deserved to lose, it was a big game for our players going in to the unknown and a bit of expectancy.

“They need a bit of help aswell and I need to make sure I help them take it away so they can believe in themselves and they can win at this level, that will come.

“It’s always a bit different on the opening day, especially when we try to knock the ball about on a perfect pitch.

“They have some good players, but so do we but it was a good atmosphere, the crowd got right behind the players and they gave everything they have got.”

Matt Fish was helped off the pitch after just four minutes following a tackle, and Martin said he had no hesitation in putting on Butcher who made his football league debut for the club.

He added: “It’s a concern [Fish’s injury], he had a fantastic season last year and is a pleasure to work with. He’s a good professional but we will probably scan it [his knee] on Monday.

“He’s done excellent, he’s a youth team player and we don’t have cover in those areas and I think he’s earned the right to play. He did well in pre-season; he has a great attitude and has trained all summer.

“What a massive step up to be able to play today. Not many people would have thought I would have put him on but Fishy has been struggling all week.

“If he hadn’t of made it I would have played him anyway. We don’t have cover in those positions so that’s the way it is. There is nothing else we could have done really.”

To watch Martin’s post match press conference click here.