Lovell: "We deserved to win the game"

Lovell left frustrated as Gills forced to settle for a point.

Gillingham manager Steve Lovell was happy with the performance levels and work-rate of his players but disappointed that the Gills were twice punished by the Dons to twice relinquish the lead and take a point from MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday.

The Gills took the lead twice in the game, first through an own-goal as a Wimbledon player looked to head clear Sean Clare’s free-kick delivery but could only divert into his own net before Max Ehmer bundled into the net at the far post after a corner.

However, the Dons scored their first controversial equaliser through Taylor after O’Neill was harshly adjudged to have fouled McDonald before levelling the match for a second time late on as Forrester capitalised on confusion in the Gills box from a corner kick.

Lovell thought that Gillingham were able to play better football in the second period after the blustery conditions died down and deserved to win the game on the basis of that performance.

“The first half was very, very even due to the conditions, the wind was awful. Second half it died down and it was good spectacle. We deserved to win the game.

“When we went one-nil up I thought we were going to win it quite easily, but then they get a penalty, which I thought was harsh, and gives them a bit of a lift. It is two little bits of very bad fortune.

“I’m not happy with the decision because at the end of the day it has cost us two points, but what can you do? It’s done and dusted so we just have to get on with it.”

Lovell spoke of the disappointment in the dressing room but was looking forward to a derby against Charlton Athletic on New Year’s Day.

“The boys are so disappointed. In the dressing room, it’s like we’ve lost six-nil. They are disappointed that they haven’t won it and that’s pleasing as a manager.

“Charlton will be a very tough game for us. They haven’t won for seven games so they’ll be desperate to turn that around. It’s a good club and it will be a very tough game for us.

“We’ll be in tomorrow morning, assess the injury situation and pick a game for Monday. It will be a good ding-dong battle.”

Tom Eaves was rested by the Gills manager but came on to put in a great second half performance, labelled by Lovell as his best of the campaign.

“Tom needed a bit of a break from Boxing Day and sometimes that gives you a bit of a kick-up the backside. When he came on it was probably the best 45 minutes he’s played this season.

“You’ve got to manage the players and I thought Tom did very well when he came on. I’ve got a plan in my head and you’ve got to bring people in and take them out – it’s got to be done.”