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Harris reflects on Rochdale win

Gills boss speaks to the media following the 2-0 win at the Crown Oil Arena.

19 February 2023


Harris reflects on Rochdale win

Gills boss speaks to the media following the 2-0 win at the Crown Oil Arena.

19 February 2023

Post-match thoughts from Neil Harris as Gills secure 2-0 win at Rochdale.

Gills boss Neil Harris was delighted with his side's professional performance as they came away from the Crown Oil Arena with three vital points against Rochdale following a 2-0 win. 

Oli Hawkins gave Gillingham the lead midway through the first half before George Lapslie's tap-in secured the points in a 2-0 victory.

After a strong first-half performance, the hosts put the Gillingham backline under pressure in the second as they went in search of an equalizer. However, the Gills stood firm as Robbie McKenzie and Conor Masterson produced massive tackles to preserve the lead.

An effort from Tom Nichols, on as a sub, was converted home by Lapslie to all but seal the points.


Thoughts on the game...

I thought Rochdale played well today in spells, but the difference was in both boxes. When we had to defend, we did. Cat [Glenn Morris] had to make a fingertip save to push it onto the bar. Other than that, he hasn't made a save. 

Then at the other end, in the three or four moments we had, we scored two and should've scored two or three more. That's just the difference. We're making five chances now and are expecting to score two or three, and at the other end, we've got the ability to keep clean sheets. 


Aiden O'Brien's first start...

What the fans will have enjoyed seeing of Aiden O'Brien was seeing his quality without the ball, where he's excellent at pressing and with the ball as he didn't give the ball away in 65 minutes. That's what he does. What they didn't see was the forward running. A couple of times he got off the big man and didn't quite have that moment in the end, and that's just half a yard of fitness. That'll come.


People are still only seeing 80% of Aiden O'Brien. They'll be excited to know that there's a lot more to come from him.


The decision behind naming Tom Nichols among the substitutes...

I went with Aiden [O'Brien] today because the distance that Nico has covered in the three games around Hawks [Oli Hawkins] has been immense. I just didn't want to take that risk of pushing him again, so I left Nico out today for leg purposes. 


I was delighted when he came on and how well he played as well.


Thought process on the other two changes to the starting XI...
Macca coming out was an obvious one because of injury-wise and age and the fact that he'd gone through back-to-back games. Shaun Williams going in was an obvious one because we really missed him the other night anchoring the midfield. 
I thought Dave Tutonda since he's come back from injury, has been one of our best performers, arguably our best performer. Cheye's [Alexander] come on in two games and played really well. 
Maybe just take David out and let him have that 20 minutes off the bench to come on, and he did well when he came on.
Looking ahead...

We've got tough fixtures in front of us. We've got back-to-back home games now; it's a good week for us. We've got a behind-closed-door game in midweek for the lads that have been on the fringes to get minutes and a good training week for the other lads.

Wimbledon next week will be a great one because Wimbledon travel really well as a fanbase. They're a team that doesn't lose many games of football. They draw a lot at the moment but haven't lost many. They'll come with an outside thought of the play-offs, and they've got some really good players. It's going to be another tough match.

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