Lovell | "I'm proud of them"

Score was a bit harsh on us, says Gills boss.

Gillingham manager Steve Lovell admitted Swansea deserved to progress in the FA Cup but was still proud of his Gills side as a Josh Rees' effort proved to be in vain as The Swans came out on top 4-1 at the Liberty Stadium to seal a fifth round spot on Saturday.

Oli McBurnie bagged a brace with Celina Bersant and Barrie McKay ensuring it was Swansea who adopted ball number one in Monday’s draw.

Following the game Lovell said: “First half I thought Swansea were brilliant, they looked a really good side, but then we got our goal which changed it. I thought there was a period when we could nick another one, there were chances, but the third goal has killed us. Fair play to Swansea though, they deserved the victory.”

Gillingham found themselves two down at the interval, however, a tactical change at the beginning of the second half paid dividends as Josh Rees netted to give the 1400 Gills fans hope of a comeback.

Reflecting on the reshuffle at the break, Lovell said: “Oli McBurnie caused us so many problems in the first half and so we specifically gave Mark Byrne the job of marking him in the second half. I think once we stopped him from getting on the ball, we started getting on the ball ourselves and started creating a few things.”

Looking back over an FA Cup campaign which has seen Gills knock out Hartlepool, Slough and Cardiff in the first three rounds, Lovell was proud of the run, which is Gills’ best in the cup for more than 15 years.

He added: “We’ve enjoyed the journey as we’ve played some teams from the top leagues as well as teams from the national league and below. It’s been a journey and a nice journey at that, I would have loved for it to go a bit further, but it wasn’t to be. We now have to prepare for Accrington on Tuesday and try and push forward.

“I think 4-1 was a bit harsh on us.  We changed it up and went to a diamond when we went 3-1 down but it just wasn’t to be. The boys are gutted in there but I’m proud of them for the way they kept going. They gave everything they had and that’s all I can ask.”

Gillingham are next in action on Tuesday evening when Accrington Stanley visit Priestfield in a crunch game in Sky Bet League 1.  Looking ahead, Lovell said: “Like us, they’ve had a tough game today, but we are back home at Priestfield against a team a bit like us so it should be an entertaining game. They will be looking to get one over on us and It will be a battle, but a battle that we will be up to.”