Development coach delivers Luton win verdict...
Mark Patterson praised the consistency of his side’s performance after watching his young development team beat Luton Town 4-2 at Beechings on Tuesday afternoon.
After falling behind twice the Gills continued to get forward and create chances and scored three times in the last half an hour with Nathan Nyafli (2) and Alfie Coates adding to Aaron Millbank’s late equaliser before the interval.
The Gills development boss said that although the result was a welcome one, he was more pleased with the performance his young side showed throughout the game.
Speaking exclusively to the club’s official website he said:
“If you think back to our games before Christmas when we said many times that we created many chances and not taken them, it seems at the minute over the last few games we have created chances and taken them.
“I was really pleased with the performance because the conditions were difficult with the wind blowing across. In the first half we did well against it, we kept a high line which meant any balls played long went straight to the goalkeeper.
“We didn’t give them an opportunity to pin us in and when we had to clear our lines I think we did it well.
“Going the other way we pushed them back with good use of the ball, some intelligent running in midfield and good movement from our two forwards Nathan Nyafli and Aaron Millbank which was pleasing.
“Unfortunately we went a goal down in quite funny circumstances because it was a definite block from their centre half but that’s something the lads have got to get used to.
“It was an experienced player blocking off one of our defenders to give a team-mate a free header but that’s something we have to cotton on to and be a bit more street wise.
“Just before half time we scored a good equaliser through Aaron Millbank which I thought was totally justified at that point in the game, a nice side foot finish after some good build up play down the left from Jack Parter.
“It came at a good time because we had a bit of pressure and if we hadn’t of scored they might have thought they had got a reprieve just before the break.”
Unfortunately Luton went ahead within 70 seconds of the re-start with Matt Robinson smashing home a 25-yard volley beyond the helpless Luke Nalder.
The Gills responded well though and Mark was delighted that his players retained their confidence.
He added: “It was a cracking goal, a great strike over the top of Luke via a deflection but you definitely thought that after all our hard work we had to do it all over again, however we didn’t let that affect us.
“We continued trying to do the correct things and playing with the wind it was important we didn’t hit straight balls. We hit angled balls which could get the wide men in which meant the forwards were not always playing back to goal.
“The second half was very good, we created opportunities and the pressure was building. When we got the second equaliser from Nathan we had a feeling then that we could go on and win the game because of the continued situations we kept putting them under.
“We just had to concentrate, we did our jobs correctly knowing another chance would come and it did.
“It was another good finish from Nathan which put us 3-2 ahead. Jack Parter and Josh Staunton had headers which they probably should have scored from which they put over the bar.
“Late on we got a fourth through Alfie; he hooked the ball in after a corner hadn’t been dealt with properly.
“The score line is irrelevant really, the pleasing thing is that we have come from behind and deserved to win the game by playing the right way and by showing good commitment.
“Even when we conceded the goals I never felt we were on the back foot, I always felt we were probably just about in control and when we went 2-2 we were definitely in the ascendency and they couldn’t get out.
“We caused a lot of problems with Sam Muggleton’s long throws, Ashley Miller played a good 70 minutes and I said after the game that when you are 2-2 it’s nice to finish the game ahead because if you don’t when you have been on top you feel like you have missed a trick.
“I thought we deserved it – there were some good performances. Aaron Millbank was excellent; Jake Hessenthaler had a good game and Josh Staunton at the back too.
“We were consistent throughout. They were probably slightly older than us but not by much, it was a good development game.”
Finally Mark briefly discussed which players are out on loan and at what clubs they are playing for.
He said: “Most of the younger lads are out on work experience or out on official loans now.
“Ashley Miller has just gone to Hythe for a month, Daren Hawkes is at Ramsgate, Nathan Nyafli is at Merstham. Jack Parter is at Whitstable, Josh Hare is at Maidstone and that’s all part of their development.
“It means they can get used to being knocked around in men’s football.”
You can watch exclusive extended highlights of the Luton game on Gills Player.