Lovell | "We got what we deserved"

Boss delighted with players after 1-1 draw with Coventry.

Manager Steve Lovell was pleased with a ‘gutsy’ performance at Coventry City as a Tom Eaves penalty in the 92nd minute ensured Gillingham returned down the M1 with a point in a 1-1 draw with Coventry at the Ricoh on Saturday.

After a promising first half display, Gills fell behind midway through the second half when Bright Enobakhare netted at the second attempt, but when Brandon Hanlan was wiped out in the box late on, Eaves was on hand to net from the spot to secure the point.

Read more | Coventry City 1-1 Gillingham

Speaking after the game Steve said: “I thought we got what we deserved, because we had a lot of chances in the first half and a couple in the second half. When they get their goal, it gives you a bit of a backwards step. But we changed it and went three at the back and I just thought we would have a go, and, in the end, we got the penalty. It was a good gutsy performance. It was very pleasing.

"You have to put the opposition under pressure, if you go put them under pressure and press and do that, they will make mistakes. I thought we had a couple of opportunities where Graham Burke could have scored, and Tom Eaves could have scored. The first half was a great half, just without the goals.”

Gillingham fell behind against the run of play when a superb run from Enobakhare, which started in his own half, resulted in the ball falling back to the powerful attacker who slotted past a resilient Gills defence.

Lovell said: “Their goal came from us on the attack on the right-hand side. I think the ball was given away and we were left 2v2 at the back, which we shouldn’t have done. But we rolled our sleeves up and got a crucial point.”

Tom Eaves scored for the first time in 2019 as he took his tally to 16 for the season, and Lovell was pleased to see his main man back in the goals.

He added: “Apart from his goal I thought he led the line brilliantly, with Graham alongside him I thought they all played well. I think on a better pitch we would have created some more chances, because even on there we got the ball down and looked like we could hurt them.”

Lovell said he had full confidence in Eaves taking the penalty towards the end of the game, adding: “I had every faith in him, he did that against Hartlepool in the cup tie and he deserved it, he has been nothing but professional and he really deserves it.”

New signing Graham Burke impressed on his first start for the Gills and Lovell was full of praise for his new number 10, he said: “I thought he was excellent, his composure on the ball, his brain and his mobility were excellent for us. He brings a new dimension to us.

“On another day he would have stuck one in. It was tempting to put them all in [the new signings], but we will work with them. It has brought a breath of fresh air to the football club. It makes players fight harder for their places. That said, everybody put a good shift in today.”