Luvs reacts as Gills come from behind to defeat Burton.
Gillingham Manager Steve Lovell praised his side’s attacking prowess as his team put three past the recently-relegated Burton Albion, coming from behind to claim victory in their first home game of the 2018-19 Sky Bet League One season at the Medway Priestfield Stadium.
Despite falling behind to a Sbarra effort midway through the first half, Gillingham were on equal terms at half-time through Tom Eaves’ first touch of the ball after coming on as a substitute for the injured Dean Parrett.
After the break the Gills played some scintillating football going forward and were resolute at the back. A beautiful free-kick from Luke O’Neill gave the hosts, wearing their centenary black and white strip, the lead before a second from Eaves wrapped up the victory after man of the match, Brandon Hanlan’s effort was parried by the Burton keeper.
Lovell said the performance, with the Gills creating chance after chance throughout the game, showed the intent that he wants the team to play with this season.
“When we went forward we always looked threatening and it was a really good team performance.
“The only disappointing thing is we didn’t score more goals – it could have been six or seven. We’ve got a bit of firepower and that’s the way we want to play.
“Their front men caused problems, they had a couple of opportunities, but we handled it very well. We nullified them and then caught them on the counter.
“Winning becomes a great habit and it gives everybody a boost at the football club.”
It was the first time the Gills faithful got to see the new-look squad on home soil this season, and Lovell pointed out the key attributes that his players will look to put on show this season.
“We’ve got people who run and get around the pitch, they’ve got legs. The whole squad is a great bunch of lads, they all want to get better, and we’re all in it for the same reason. It’s all about the character of the boys.
“We’ve got plans, either in behind or in front of the defence, and we’re working on it every day to try and cause problems for the opposition.”
Brandon Hanlan was a constant threat up top for the Gills and Lovell was full of praise for the striker and midfielder Regan Charles-Cook – two of his summer signings.
“Brandon Hanlan was magnificent today. He was unplayable, they didn’t know how to handle him. He was superb – the only disappointing thing was that he didn’t get a goal because he’s a handful.
“The boys are giving him stick down there,” Lovell joked, “but he’s had a hand in most of the things we did going forward. He’s strong and quick and intelligent – on another day he could have three or four.
“The first two games they’ve [Hanlan and Charles-Cook] been fantastic and they will only get better.
“They’ve come through the academy system at Charlton together, and they play well together. They’re clever and they understand the game which is massive, especially when you’re only young.”
Finally, Lovell provided an update on Parrett who came off in the first half with a muscle injury,
“We’re disappointed to lose Dean Parrett but that gives someone else a chance.
“He just over stretched his hamstring. We caught it just before it went so hopefully he won’t be out for too long.”