The Gills head coach spoke to the media following the 2-1 win against Southend United on Saturday

Gillingham head coach Adrian Pennock was visibly delighted as he spoke to the media accompanied by his son after the Gills recorded a crucial 2-1 victory over promotion-chasing Southend United on Saturday at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.

A first-half double from Josh Wright and a red card for former Gills loanee defender Ryan Innis appeared to set the home side on course for a comfortable victory in blustery conditions. Southend fought back in the second period but a goal from substitute Nile Ranger wasn’t enough to earn the Essex side a point. 

Pennock on…his emotions after securing his first win in charge: "“It’s a fantastic feeling. We deserved that after we’ve been so close in the games we’ve drawn. To a man, to everybody involved in the squad and those injured, the players deserved those three points.

“They [Southend] are a brilliant side and it just shows that it’s always difficult playing against 10 men, but we’re delighted with the win.

“Josh Wright has got that great knack of nicking goals, although I had to turn away for his penalty.

“The atmosphere was brilliant with everybody enjoying the three points – it’s been a long time coming. I have to pat everybody on the back.”

Pennock on...playing against 10 men in the second half: "I just wanted to be brave because they were just going to pump the ball forward.  I didn’t want to just put everybody back, I wanted to hit them on the counter attack.

"That next goal [at 2-0] was so crucial, and when they got it it put their tails up. We were strong defensively but I'm still looking for that clean sheet."

Pennock on…performances from new faces: “I thought Zesh Rehman [the centre-back making his debut after signing this week] and [loan striker Joe] Quigley were fantastic and they’re two good additions. 

“Zesh has just finished his pre-season so he’s genuinely fit, and I thought he had an excellent game today, he read the ball extremely well. This was Joe [Quigley’s] first 90 minutes since his injury, and I thought he was a handful, he was excellent.

“The changing room has been first class, even with the disruption with the injuries we’ve had, and we stuck at it.”

Pennock on…Tuesday’s game against Swindon Town: “We’ve got to enjoy the win and we’ve got to build on it, but I’ll be in tomorrow morning preparing for the Swindon game [on Tuesday]

“There’s a little bit of history between the supporters, as I know. They’re a threat and they are fighting for their lives – it’s a big six-point clash.

“The players will enjoy the three points but we have big games coming up. Swindon and Bury [Gillingham’s opponents next Saturday] are around us so we’re really looking forward to them.”

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