Post-match reaction from Ady Pennock.
Gillingham Head Coach Adrian Pennock was delighted with the attitude of his Gills team as they twice came from behind to earn a point in an entertaining game at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
Southend led at the break through Ryan Leonard’s opportunistic strike, however two fantastic Tom Eaves’ headers put the Gills ahead midway through the second half. The visitors responded with two quick-fire goals from Michael Kightly and Simon Cox, but Eaves notched his third of the game poking home after his initial penalty – awarded for a foul on Mark Byrne – was saved to snatch a deserved draw.
Pennock praised the never-say-die players in a mark of the togetherness at the club and singled out the strike-force for particular praise as the Gills got off the mark this campaign.
“I thought we thoroughly deserved something from the game, it would have been a travesty if we hadn’t got anything.
“We started very brightly in the first 20 minutes but then we took our foot off the gas and conceded a poor goal.
“But look at the attitude and desire that we showed to get back in the game – we never died, we rolled our sleeves up. I’ve got to give all the credit to the players, they were all top drawer.”
Tom Eaves was the hero for the Gills, notching his first goals for the club with a second half hat-trick and Pennock was delighted that his efforts finally paid while he also paid testament to Liam Nash after his first start for the club.
“I’m very pleased with Tom Eaves. He works so hard and I’m very pleased for him, - we’ve been working on him in training. The balls in the box have been very good and he’s a handful.
“Young Liam did ever so well. He got a bit of cramp so we had to take him off. But every time he comes off the bench he looks very hungry and bright. He won the penalty last week and he deserved his start.”
Pennock believes it is important that the Gills stick together and wants to create a “siege mentality” at the club.
“We’ve got to have that siege mentality. It’s us against the world at the moment, but we’ve got a great togetherness in that dressing room.
“The boys have been getting some unfair criticism but we’ve got to stick together. I looked them in the eyes after the game and said I could go to war with every single one of these boys."