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Clarke | "The atmosphere was amazing"

Gills winger enjoyed the atmosphere under the lights at Priestfield for Southampton cup tie.

9 August 2023

Jayden Clarke was delighted with the collective team performance as Gills knocked Championship side Southampton out of the Carabao Cup.

Gillingham have been dubbed on social media as the Sleeping Giant, but this time they played the part of David with his sling and stone.

The Carabao Cup first round threw the Gills up against Southampton, which is about as glamorous and difficult a game that you could ask for to start your home fixture list in a new campaign. Few would be predicting anything other than an away win.

The daunting task ahead of the Kent side didn't put people off and 7,775 were in the number as Gillingham went marching in against the Saints and they did so in some style, mercilessly picking apart a team who were playing Premier League football last season. The enthralling cup tie finished 3-1 but it could have been even more emphatic, such was the Gills' brutal desire to put on a spectacle in front of their rapturous home crowd.

Jayden Clarke, who buzzed up and down the wing and looked a constant threat throughout, described the evening as simply electric.

"The atmosphere was amazing from the moment we first walked out," said the attacking midfielder. "We could hear that the crowd were really up for it.

"All the players were up for it, too. It's a big game and we were playing against a team who have just been relegated from the Premier League. Our performance was really good and it feels great to get that win.

"We watched their game on Friday night and I think a few people were fearing the worst. I'm pretty sure they broke a record for most passes in the first half. Coming into the game we didn't expect to have any of the ball but we were up for it and from the first few minutes we realised we were going to have more of the ball than we thought.

"As a player you always get that feeling when you know you have a chance and even before we scored our first goal we had that feeling. After the first goal went in, we just kept that pressure on.

"I have never heard Priestfield like that before, it was a great feeling and all the boys enjoyed it. When the goals went in, the place just erupted. We were delighted to send the fans home smiling."

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