Gaffer | "We deserved to win"

Gills boss happy with performance as goals from Kyle Dempsey and Dominic Samuel give his side victory over AFC Wimbledon.

Steve Evans was bursting with pride after Gillingham ended their Tuesday night hoodoo with a slick performance against a tough AFC Wimbledon side. The Gills, now unbeaten in their previous three league matches, blew away the unwanted stat of 1828 days without a league victory at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on a Tuesday night with two smart finishes to down The Dons, five years to the day since their last Tuesday league win.

Captain Karl Demspey smartly finished off a neat Gills move after only three minutes only to see Wimbledon bring the score level before the half-hour mark. The points were sealed, however, when Connor Ogilvie sent in a dangerous cross which was volleyed home by a fully-stretched Dominic Samuel in a 2-1 triumph.

The Gills boss said after the match: “We were industrious and worked hard. We are better than we were last year, they beat us twice last year and they shouldn’t have done. We have edged it and we will take the three points. We deserved to win.

“We were pleased with how we played and how hard we worked on the pitch. It was a good three points.

“It was a fantastic first goal for us. They then they scored a fantastic header and took over for about 15 minutes without really making a chance. In the second-half we were really unlucky. We have hit the post and had a couple of half-chances but then we get the goal. Credit to the players, a good win on the back of a good performance against Charlton too.”

Evans believes that if his side’s goals had been scored by a top flight team, then Gary Lineker and his studio panel would have something special to talk about.

“If you see the qualities of those two goals on ‘Match of the Day’ and it’s in the Premier League, if that’s Tottenham Hotspur, you are raving about them. The quality and the weight of the pass and the movement. The vision of Jordan Graham to see the run of Kyle on the blind side for the first one, after eight or nine passes, that sets him free and rips them to shreds. The goals that we scored were special goals.”

Evans lavished praise on his goal-scoring Captain, Karl Dempsey, who is improving with each passing game, despite his early season injury setback.

“Karl Dempsey is a Championship player,” said Evans. “He was out on the opening day of the season when he rolled his ankle and was out for four of five weeks. We badly missed him. He is such a brilliant professional. He lives the project! I sat down with the Chairman at the end of the last season and said, ’Just get me Dempsey.’ The longer the season goes Kyle Dempsey will become one of the best, if not the best, players in the middle of the park in League One.”

The manager also reserved admiration for Chairman Paul Scally, who he says has lifted him in the absence of the vocal Gillingham fans.

“Paul Scally has been absolutely incredible with me. He’s called me and kept my motivation high. It’s not the same without fans. When the Prime Minister gave us the news yesterday that there are going to be spectators coming in, I think my wife had only seen me jump like that when we score last minute winners.

“We miss the fans here, this is one of the iconic grounds in League One. I’ve come here as an away manager and got bashed and battered by that Rainham End. But we love them, and we miss them.”

The Gaffer’s attention now turns to the FA Cup, where they have a tricky fixture in the form of Exeter City, who last night put six goals past Colchester and are riding high in League Two.

“We don’t underestimate Exeter for one minute. I travelled to Bradford to watch them recently in a 2-2 draw. It could have been 8-2 to Exeter. I thought they were wonderful. They have a beautiful blend, with a mixture of experience and youth. They have a good young manager and they pass the ball well. 

“We have to be ready and prepared against, who are for me, a team that will be in League One next year. They have my total respect.”