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Gillingham manager Stephen Clemence feels robbed of victory despite late point

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 Mar 2024

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Gillingham manager Stephen Clemence believes that his side had victory stolen from them as Tim Dieng’s late goal was ruled out for a handball as they recorded a 1-1 League Two draw at home to Tranmere.

Conor Masterson scored his sixth league goal of the season to rescue a point for Gillingham late on against a resilient Tranmere, who went ahead in the fifth minute through Regan Hendry.

Gillingham thought they won it even later when Dieng rifled the ball home at close range, but the linesman was quick to rule it out for a handball.

Clemence said: “I feel today we were probably robbed of all three points. I looked straightway at the linesman and referee, not for a handball but for offside.

“To then to be told it’s for a handball is a big decision for a linesman to make when he is that far away in my opinion.

“I think with VAR if it touches someone’s hand it is probably disallowed, I am not sure that is the same in League Two from what I have seen this season.”

Despite not gaining three points, Gillingham did manage to return to the play-off spots and will play eighth-place AFC Wimbledon in a crunch clash on Tuesday.

Clemence said: “I was surprised that when we took a point from this game that we actually moved up the table by two spots.

“But that is the division we are in. There are a lot of strange results and I would rather be higher up the table, but if we got three points, we would be in a far stronger position.

“I do believe the group can beat anyone and with nine games to go we are in a good position and there is another big game to go on Tuesday.”

Tranmere led the game for 80 minutes and in the first half went deservedly ahead, but – following a Gillingham siege after the break – Nigel Adkins’ side defended robustly.

The club that sit 17th in in the table hurriedly thwarted any Gillingham opportunity and on top of their quality on the ball in the first half, showed strong character in the second.

Adkins said: “It was a super finish and what a threat we are on the counter attack. We did really well and we nearly won in the end.

“I can’t speak highly enough. We missed our captain today (Tom Davies) and Connor Jennings stepped up to the mark and he was exceptional.

“When we talk about the team, together everyone achieves more. We have a culture; we want to learn and we want to improve.

“We have a team culture because there are players who have maybe not played and come in and put their body on the line for the cause, which is Tranmere Rovers Football Club.”

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