Steve Lovell insists Gillingham still have a chance of reaching the JPT Final despite defeat to Bristol City

Steve Lovell says Gillingham still have a chance of reaching Wembley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy despite losing 4-2 to Bristol City in the first leg of the Southern Area Final.

Striker Matt Smith bagged all four goals for the visitors at Priestfield on Tuesday night to give Steve Cotterill’s side the advantage, but after the game Lovell felt some of the defending could have been better.

He said:  “Going forward it was very good and we created chance after chance and scored two good goals.

“We worked on a system to get at them and I thought we did in getting the early goal but defensively I thought we were poor and I think we gave them three of the goals.

“The fourth was a brilliant goal, but we created some of the problems ourselves.”

Gillingham continued to push forward in search of a third goal to reduce the deficit, and Lovell said the previous two fixtures between the clubs this season had an influence on how they set up.

He added: “We’ve always thought that the best way to defend is attack, especially against a side like this. We’ve played them twice before where we gave them a lot of time and allowed them to pick off their passes and they are going to do that because they are quality.

“They are by far the best team in the league; there were long periods in the second half where we had them.

“It’s not been a week since we had the boys; we know what we need to work on. Whether we have the time to do it we don’t know, but if we do we will because the attacking side is good.”

When asked if Gills are still in the tie, he replied:

“Without a doubt, at 3-2 I’m saying we’ll get another goal. The tie is not over yet, we have nothing to lose going down there. We’ll play the same way and have a go.”