Peter Taylor proud of his side's spirit as ten man Gills fight back in second half at Stevenage
Peter Taylor said he was proud of the way his players kept going against Stevenage on Tuesday night despite suffering a 3-1 defeat.
The Gills played most of the game with ten men as Elliott Hewitt saw red for deliberate handball inside the box after half an hour, and the resulting penalty was converted by Francois Zoko before Darius Charles doubled the lead before the interval.
Cody McDonald struck on 56 minutes to give the visitors a fighting chance, only to see Stevenage restore their two goal cushion minutes later when Charles bagged his brace.
Speaking after the game Peter said: “I am very proud of the players for the way they kept going, it was a difficult evening.
“Of course it’s a disappointing first goal for us in respect of it wasn’t good defending and then you get a man sent off as early as that.
“Correct decision from the referee, the wrong decision from Elliott – he should have let it go in. The game was at an early stage and if it goes in you still have time and 11 men to recover.
“That made it a difficult night but the players kept going, I was really impressed with that and we had enough chances. Cody could have had four goals so in that respect I’m very proud of them.
“We felt that if we could get a goal back we could have asked a question. They could have relaxed of course and would have been confident against ten men.
“If you get a goal then all of a sudden we see any nerves that could come in – there were some very good performances and a few frustrating things that we need to improve on.
“I think the boys hung in there, simple as that and in the end they could have got something but Stevenage played some good stuff aswell.
“We played some good Football at times so everybody is improving; we just need to cut out the silly mistakes.”
Peter surprised many people by leaving Captain Adam Barrett out of the side with Callum Davies coming in as a replacement, with Connor Smith and Jake Hessenthaler starting in midfield.
Taylor explained his thinking behind the decisions.
He added: “The thinking behind that is that I felt it was a really heavy pitch on Saturday and I thought Adam was a touch tired and with the way Stevenage play with their strikers they just chase and run their centre halves all over the place.
“I thought Callum could handle that situation; Michael was a bit tried Saturday and, to me, he didn’t put in the performance we know he can.
“He was a touch tired but the amount of running and yards he has covered recently I can understand that totally.”
In answer to whether, in hindsight, he would have played Barrett and Harriman in the first 11 he replied:
“No, I think the same thing could have happened. It’s only the experts that get that right so if those two would have played we would have won 4-0.
“Linganzi isn’t a long term one but this is why we had to be careful with him Saturday.
"The problem is we’ve had a player who has been out for quite a while coming back playing on heavy pitches – that’s why we took him off at the time we did Saturday to make sure things like that didn’t happen, but all of a sudden he wakes up Sunday and has tendonitis.”