Lovell | "The penalty turned the game"

Gillingham boss Steve Lovell felt a controversial penalty awarded to Peterborough was the key moment in a tight game at the ABAX Stadium.

Both sides were relatively equal going into the break goalless, but with the referee pointing to the spot after Dembele caused trouble in the Gills box Peterborough were able to edge in front before doubling their lead on the break in the dying stages.

Lovell was happy with the performance of his men despite their attacking impetus being frustrated by a resolute Posh backline.

“We could have been out there until 12 o’clock tonight and still not scored – it was just one of those days. I don’t think there was much in the teams whatsoever. I thought we performed well without causing too many problems.

“First half, I felt we had a lot of balls into areas where perhaps we could have done better.

“We just didn’t get enough ball into our front men and that’s the first time in a few weeks that we haven’t done that.

“They handled Tom [Eaves] and Brandon [Hanlan] very well today and stopped them getting into positions that they have been getting into over the past few weeks or so. Sometimes you have to give the opposition a bit of credit.”

Lovell wasn’t willing to point fingers over the penalty decision but did think it had a huge impact on the result.

“The result is disappointing as there was nothing in the game until the penalty. The penalty turned the game.

“I couldn’t see it – the ref has given it so it’s a penalty and that’s the way it is. He’s not going to change his mind if you disagree with him.

“There wasn’t much in it and the boys said it was soft but the ref has seen it and that goal has given them the impetus to go on.

“You wouldn’t have thought that we’ve got the points we’ve got and they’re in the position that they are but they got the goals so they win the game.”

Finally, Lovell confirmed that the injuries which caused the substitution of Mark Byrne and Regan Charles-Cook are likely to be minor with both players expected to be available for the visit of Shrewsbury next weekend as the Gills enter the business end of the season.

“They will be alright. Regan got injured by Barry Fuller, but they’ll be fine for next week.

“We’ve just got to get through the next five games and get as many points as we can. There’s a lot of work to be done.”