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Lovell | "Ninety minutes of sheer blood and determination"

Gills boss proud of performance as 1-1 draw against Rochdale brings club closer to safety.

30 March 2019

Gills edge closer to survival following 1-1 draw with Rochdale.

Gillingham manager Steve Lovell admitted he enjoyed the feisty nature of Saturday’s game against Rochdale as Gillingham moved a point closer to safety.

Mark Byrne netted in first half injury team, cancelling out an Ian Henderson strike midway through the first half as the game finished 1-1. Gillingham had chances to seal all three points, with Graham Burke, Brandon Hanlan and Tom Eaves all coming close to finding a winner but it wasn’t to be as the spoils were shared in ME7.

Reflecting on the game, Lovell said: “It was an entertaining game with both teams going for it. It was feisty but that is all part of the game. It was a different game to what we’ve been used to recently because we had to roll our sleeves up and dig in. I thought the first half was pretty even but in the second half we took control, it’s a shame we just couldn’t get that second goal.”

He added: “It’s a decent point – we have to make sure we keep picking up points from now until the end of the season. I thought second half was a much better performance and I thought on the whole we just edged it.”

Gillingham had to match a physical Rochdale side, who extended their unbeaten run under manager Brian Barry-Murphy and despite being frustrated with the tactics, understood the reasoning behind it.

He said: “They are fighting for their lives down the bottom. Everyone could see they were taking their time on certain things, but it is part of the game. Perhaps if we were in the same position, we would be trying the same. It’s up to the referee to deal with it. It was ninety minutes of sheer blood and determination.”

Ian Henderson netted against Gills again, taking his tally to 18 for the season but Lovell was pleased with how his defence came through a tough test against an experienced strike force. “They’ve been in a battle. Connor [Ogilvie] has been excellent for us and he won’t come up against two bigger centre forwards than the two today and I thought he handled it very well. It’s part of the game and I thought him, and Max {Ehmer} handled it very well.”

The point takes Gillingham’s points tally to 48 and Lovell has his eyes set on finishing the season strong as he looks to beat last season’s tally of 56 points. He said: “There are six games to go. We’ve got 48 points now and I would love to beat last season’s total. We are going to have to roll our sleeves up and have a go, like we did today. I’ll take a decent performance and a point.”

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