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Lovell | "I can't fault anybody"

Steve Lovell praises players following defeat to Southend.

1 January 2019

Gills boss delighted with players despite late drama at Roots Hall.

Gillingham manager Steve Lovell was left ruing his side’s bad luck as he saw his team denied a point at Southend after a hugely controversial final few minutes ensured the points went to the Shrimpers.

After Sam Mantom had given Southend the lead in the first half, the Gills threw everything at their hosts, and appeared to be rewarded when in the 94th minute Connor Ogilvie thought he had levelled the scores, only for the officials to deem the ball hadn’t crossed the line. Within seconds Southend were up the other end to score again and seal the three points in a 2-0 win.

Reflecting on the controversy in added time, Steve Lovell said: “Looking at the pictures the ball was over the line, and that’s the disappointing thing. They (the players) are adamant that the ball was over the line, I know it’s hard for officials, but it has cost us points today. I’m pleased with the performance, but it doesn’t count for anything because it ended with a Southend win.”

Reflecting on the contest, Lovell was pleased with his side’s performance and felt that the goal at the death would have been the least his side deserved after a much-improved showing against Doncaster three days prior.

“We didn’t deserve a point, we deserved all three and to not get anything out of the game, in that manner, is disappointing,” he said. “We’ve created more chances than they did, their keeper has made more saves than our keeper and I can’t ask any more from the players.”

Gillingham welcomed Tom Eaves back to the starting XI for the first time in three weeks as the striker recovered from a thigh injury which had kept him out of the festive fixtures. “It would have rounded off a great day for Tom today (had he been able to score), because that’s what he deserved,” Lovell added. “Tom could have had four today, but his all-round game was excellent, as was everyone’s. I can’t fault anyone today, not one of them.

“We’ve picked up a couple more injuries, one week you’re free of all injuries and the next you’ve got five or six out, but it gives everyone else a chance. Max (Ehmer) and Regan (Charles-Cook) are close though.“

Connor Ogilvie sees his loan end before the Cardiff game, but Lovell is confident of extending the on-loan Tottenham defender’s deal. Lovell said: “We are sorting that out. I thought he was excellent again today, he’s a good player and a player that we want to keep, and he wants to stay with us.”

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