Gillingham deserved their luck, says manager Steve Evans

Southend United v Peterborough United – Skybet League One – Roots Hall
Southend United v Peterborough United – Skybet League One – Roots Hall (PA Archive)
22:22pm, Tue 03 Nov 2020
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Steve Evans says Gillingham deserved a change in fortune as they profited from Crewe’s wastefulness in front of goal.

John Akinde’s second-half header clinched a 1-0 victory for the Gills, their first in six Sky Bet League One outings.

Boss Evans believes his side should have had more from recent fixtures against top-six opponents and that poor run would have continued had the Railwaymen not squandered a string of gilt-edged chances.

But Akinde’s arrival off the bench after the break was a pivotal point and the home side’s threat ended in desperation in the closing stages.

Evans said: “We had a real shape and discipline and we got to grips with them. Crewe are a brilliant team and they will do really well, but we had them resorting to putting balls into the box from long, high and wide.

“But I think John (Akinde) changed the game. He put in a strong, physical performance and he was a handful.

“Crewe will think they were unlucky tonight, but we have been unlucky for weeks. We should have beaten Sunderland, Portsmouth and Fleetwood, but we got nothing from the games.

“It’s showing how difficult it is with no fans in the ground. When I have been here in Crewe the home fans have got really behind them and they might have sucked a couple in for them tonight – but we are missing that too.”

Both Gillingham and Crewe have endured a difficult set of fixtures of late. Crewe’s defeat is their fourth in their last five, but three of those losses have been against teams in the top six.

David Artell’s side failed to make their dominance count at Ipswich last Saturday, but he was more disappointed about this defeat and said his players “got what they deserved”.

The Cheshire side carved out enough chances to win two games, yet squandered them all, although goalkeeper Joe Lumley was in fine form for the visitors.

Daniel Powell was the chief culprit, striking the foot of a post after being played clear on goal and then lifting a presentable header over.

Mikael Mandron went close against his former club, with Lumley doing well to keep out the striker’s close-range shot, although he was glad to see Mandron’s effort fly back into his arms off the near post.

Gillingham barely threatened, but they mounted a resolute defence after Akinde headed home Jordan Graham’s cross in the 58th minute.

Crewe boss Artell said: “We didn’t do enough to win, we deserved to lose – we’ve made one mistake and it has cost us.

“At Ipswich we did enough to win the game but tonight we didn’t do enough despite all the possession and the intent.

“The game should have been over in the first half as we had three or four unbelievable chances – but you’ve got to score, that is the name of the game.

“We’ve had two one-v-ones and hit a post, but we’ve got to be better. Don’t think we were unlucky, we have got what we deserved.”

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