Martin Allen says Exeter draw is important result
Martin Allen praised his team for the way they played as a unit following the 0-0 draw against Exeter at St. James’ Park on Tuesday evening.
In a game of few chances the closest the visitors came to a winner was through Deon Burton and Anton Robinson, but their chances were dealt with by the home defence and goalkeeper Artur Krysiak as both sides claimed a clean sheet.
The result maintained the Gills five point lead at the top of the table with Burton Albion moving up to second following their win over Aldershot, but Martin was delighted with his team’s result considering the quality of opposition and the long day the squad had as they dealt with some unpredictable weather.
Speaking after the game he said: “They are just behind us in the league so it was a big result. We all left home this morning at six o’clock to make sure we got to the ground for eight because of the blizzard in Gillingham.
“All of the players were text yesterday evening to make sure they left another hour and a half earlier.
“Did we play great individually? Not really. Did we play great as a team? Did they dig in? The opposition keeper had one shot to save in the first half and our keeper had one effort to save in the second.
“Apart from that, without playing great ourselves we got a clean sheet and an away point.
“We had to be patient; you can’t always win it back quick and there are going to be spells in the game when Exeter do have a lot of the ball.
“Obviously we had to put our mark on our game because we are particularly good at set plays and long throws, that’s another asset that we have got. It’s a good night for us.”
Martin made two changes to the side that beat Plymouth with Danny East and Deon Burton replacing Chris Whelpdale and Danny Kedwell, and the Manager said he thinks keeping his players happy is making the unity among the players stronger.
He said: “They are all committed, that’s the thing. That’s why I always change it and give other players the opportunities to play because they all train hard, they all compete and they all, at times, deserve to play and that’s what I think helps build team spirit.
“They have a respect for each other. Kedwell was brilliant for us on Saturday; can you imagine what it was like tonight telling him he wasn’t playing?
“But then Deon Burton has been superb in training so this was a good game for him to come in and play. Chris Whelpdale has had a sore thigh but in the end we didn’t really need him because we made the opinion that 0-0 at that point was probably a good result for us, and not such a good one for them.
“Birchall was scoring loads of goals yesterday in a small sided game. He has played in winning teams away at Southend and Bristol Rovers, so he is waiting in the wings and champing at the bit to play aswell.
“That makes my job, I wouldn’t say difficult, but it makes it good because I trust them all to play.”
For a full match report on the evening's action click here.
To find out what fans were saying during the match itself click here.