Paul Raynor reflects on Saturday's win over Woking in the Emirates FA Cup.
Gills Assistant boss Paul Raynor said he always believed the squad would battle back against Woking despite being 2-0 down with just half an hour to play.
Goals from Max Kretzschmar and Josh Davison put the visitors into a commanding position at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday, but a Dominic Samuel brace, and a headed goal from sub Vadaine Oliver ensured it was Steve Evans’ men who booked their place in the FA Cup second round draw on Monday night.
Speaking after the game, Paul said: “For 60 minutes Woking gave us a lot of problems and we gave ourselves some problems; we conceded a sloppy first goal which then gives them something to hang onto. They get a ricochet, something bounces for them in the penalty area on 50 odd minutes and they go two up and we have a real mountain to climb.
“We spoke at half-time about changing things round and tweaking a few things, we changed the shape and we always felt we would create opportunities doing that.
“Adding Vadaine to the mix in the second half helped; it gave us a vocal point, he won a lot of headers, he linked up and brought people into the game. We felt we were a bit too passive in the first half, we like to get the ball forward a little bit quicker, our passing was far too slow and it allowed Woking to get into their shape, and when you have something to hold onto it can be difficult to break down.
“I think we made it quite easy for them, they were always lively on the break aswell and could have added to the total, so on the whole credit to Woking but the main thing is that we are in the next round.”
The Assistant Manager was asked what the main emotion was in the camp following the final whistle. He said: “At 2-0 down, relief. We said to the boys it’s a cup tie; it’s us or them in the next round.
“We were slightly worried [at 0-2], but we knew we would create chances, we knew the desire and the character in the dressing room. Even with a tough two or three weeks we knew the character and it shone through today and we have two wins on the trot which is lovely. We are with the guys 24/7 every day in training, we see the togetherness; we see the older boys are carrying the younger boys through and we are helping them along their way.
“We always believed in the boys. We have a young squad, they listened at half-time, took it on board and we always felt we would create chances and I’m delighted for Dominic who has worked incredibly hard.
“It was a classic game of two halves wasn’t it? Eventually they wavered; they were strong, solid and a credit to their management team. They score goals and at 2-0 down we had it all to do, but I’m delighted with the second half performance.
“We had to go for it, we had nothing to lose. We threw caution to the wind, threw lots of bodies forward and went 4-2-4 in the second half and it paid off but we knew one break could mean we were out of the cup.
“We concentrated; we didn’t really give them a sniff in the second half other than the goal and credit to the boys for the character that shone through in the end.”