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Gaffer | "I am pleased with a point"

Steve Evans pleased to take a point from the Kassam after hard-earned draw.

25 September 2021


Gaffer | "I am pleased with a point"

Steve Evans pleased to take a point from the Kassam after hard-earned draw.

25 September 2021

Gills boss praises character of players following 1-1 draw at Oxford.

Steve Evans said he was pleased to take a point from the Kassam on Saturday, praising his side’s character following an early setback at Oxford.

Matty Taylor found the net after five minutes for the hosts, beating Jamie Cumming after going through one-on-one, but an excellent strike from Alex MacDonald ensured the scores were level at the interval.

Oxford created a few opportunities in the second period but were unable to find a way through for the second time.

Speaking after the game, Steve said: “I think it is a hard-earned point, we were taken aback by the start. I think it’s a defensive error between Max and Jack.

“I thought we showed good character having been a goal behind so quickly; Alex MacDonald’s is a great strike, and they have a tendency to sit off the game when they get 11 men behind the ball, it broke to Macca and it’s a great strike.

“He has that in the locker; Lloydy [Danny Lloyd] should probably score twice, I can’t fault the strikes though. He gave a real shift, and has been a real plus today. I thought John Akinde worked really hard when he came on.

“We tried to win the game, you don’t bring John Akinde on not to try and win the game. We pushed Kyle up right behind the strikers; that will always leave opportunities for us to be overloaded, especially in wide areas.

“A couple of years ago here we were 3-0 down in to time, and we’ve learned a lot of lessons from then and I think we showed a lot of resilience. Jamie has had one save of note when the boy jumps into him at the end and heads it out of his hands, it’s a foul, but the referee doesn’t give it.

“Ian Pledger deserves enormous credit because he works with Jamie every day and we identified him at Stevenage last year. One thing we identified is that he makes a save, and then bounces up. Ian has worked really hard, but the person producing it is Jamie.”

Gills progressively got back into the game with Oxford enjoying more of the early territory, and the boss was pleased to see his side take advantage when enjoying their best spell.

He added: “Midway through the first half, that’s when we started to win the second balls, and if you don’t win those away at the Kassam you will have a long day or night. We started to win those, and when we scored we had our best period and I think from there until half-time the game stagnated a little bit.

“In the second half you always expect Oxford to have a bit of the ball; I don’t remember too many opportunities that they have really created that we should be dealing with.

“We could have sat in with our shape and made it more difficult, but we tried to win the game. We brought John Akinde on for a bit of power and pace.”

The manager was asked how he reflects on the past seven days.

“Really frustrating,” he added. “I go home with the overriding feeling that, if we beat Charlton, it’s a really good week.

“It’s a hard-earned point, the disappointing thing for me was not beating Charlton.

“When we play against the better strikers in this league they are always lively, always on the move and always a threat. But wasn’t it interesting he [Taylor] wasn’t in the game second half, anonymous in the second half, he didn’t win a header, and he’s a quality player. That’s because two central defenders made a point of doing their jobs.

“I’m really pleased with a point today.”

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