Manager praises team for their efforts after a testing fixture at the Alexandra Stadium.
Steve Evans said he was pleased for his players after watching his side soak up heavy pressure against Crewe, but ultimately struck during their best spell of possession with John Akinde coming off the bench to score the winner in a 1-0 victory.
Gills were made to work hard for all three points with on-loan keeper Joe Lumley called upon several times, mostly in the first-half, to keep the scores level and the visitors gradually improved during the second period and got their goal following some fine work from Jordan Graham to find Akinde who converted from close range.
Speaking after the game, Evans said: “I think it was important we won the game. I just said to Dave Artell [Crewe manager] they have probably done to us to what we did to Sunderland on Saturday. I think they were better than us in the first-half; they had a couple of good chances and we never really got settled.
“I think there is a penalty not given on Trae Coyle, at the end of the game the referee said he did think about giving it, and I went you didn’t think long enough!
“They came out in the second half, started on the front foot, were better than us and I felt we needed another physical presence up the pitch. We brought John on, I thought he did really well, scored a goal and I think we took command of the game for ten minutes.
"Are we fortunate to come away with a win? Yes we are. If it's over the last six games are we fortunate? No, we should have eight more points. We’ll take it.
“I think the players are relieved, I’m pleased for them. We said they would have to be strong, defend heroically, defend in numbers and I think we did that. Jack Tucker looked more like himself, I think he was very strong. Connor proved how good he was in the second half, it’s a good performance and the two full backs were good. When we defend like that and get a clean sheet, that’s when the guys get the plaudits."
Jordan Graham's crosses have caused many problems this season, and his efforts finally paid off when Akinde got on the end of one of his best deliveries. The manager said, at half-time, the player was told to keep persisting.
He added: “We told him to keep doing it with the quality he normally does, and he’ll pick one. He picked one! He also put one on Tommy’s head but he got under it. Then we had to have a real shape, a discipline, I think we got to grips with them. Crewe will think they are unlucky tonight, we have been unlucky for weeks. We should have beaten Sunderland, Ipswich and Fleetwood."