The fight and effort of ten-man Gillingham left boss Neil Harris delighted as they drew 0-0 against Swindon at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday.
Gills were reduced to ten men after ten minutes as Haji Mnoga received his marching orders following a second yellow card. Despite the visitors having a man advantage, Gillingham dug in deep to frustrate Swindon as they ran themselves into the ground to ensure that they came away with at least a point.
Following the game, Neil Harris said:
On the performance…
The boys stood strong. They put in a performance that was befitting of any Gillingham team over the years. In dark times for a whole family for losing Danielle, hopefully, they take some solace in that and the fact that the team delivered for them.
They were brilliant. It's not the win or the goals that we wanted, but it feels like that in so many ways.
Glenn's made some saves with one point blank in the first half, but I thought we had as good chances with Kashy [Scott Kashket] hitting the post.
How the team adapted to playing with ten men…
We adapted brilliantly. Straight away, you’re thinking that you need to get a defender on and who to take off when you lose a defender. We decided that we’ll put Hakeeb [Adelakun] to full back to give us a foothold and a plan, and he just got better and better, didn’t he? So I didn’t have to make that sub for so long.
I thought that we had the game plan, and the players delivered it. You try and get messages on with notes, water breaks and injuries, and they took it on board.
When you go to ten men, you do fear that the game plan goes out the window, but we adjusted the shape and still had the same game plan. We still counter-attacked, and we were still good on the regains. Credit to the players.
On Hakeeb Adelakun…
His pedigree and ability is not in question from anybody. The other side of the game is now not a question either; he can do it. Today, to go to right back against a team that dominates the ball and put in that performance. Fair play to him.
He apologised at the time and apologised afterwards. It’s not about the apology; I’m not interested in the apology. It’s about him learning. He’s a young man who we’ve taken because Portsmouth believe in him, and I’ve seen him. I know how good he’s going to be. He’s going to be a top player. He has to learn fast. I haven’t got time for players to make errors like that. We got away with it today. His players dug him out of a hole.
Update on Robbie McKenzie…
He trained this morning [Saturday], so that’s a positive. What he’s not had is game time. We’ve got to look at next week whether that’s too soon, whether it’s not or whether it’s the right option to come in. I feel like I have options now in the different shapes that I want to play.