Monday, February 26, 2024

Stephen Clemence hails Gillingham character after long delay

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 28 Nov 2023


Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence was delighted with the resilience his players showed in unusual circumstances in their last-gasp 1-0 victory over AFC Wimbledon.

The match was delayed by 23 minutes due to floodlight failure at the Priestfield Stadium midway through the second half after a power cut hit the local area.

After the players went back to the changing rooms for a time, there was a flurry of late chances when play eventually resumed and Conor Masterson snatched the win in the 85th minute to lift the Gills up to seventh in League Two.

Clemence said: “I thought the lads were fantastic. A 1-0 victory against a team that’s close to you in the table – they were above us before tonight and we’ve beaten them at home.

“I’m absolutely delighted with the boys because I remember those days myself as a player: tight games, not easy and you have to show good strength of character.

“I thought to a man they stood up to be counted and the subs when they came on as well were obviously great as well.

“It’s nice to score from a set-play. I said to the boys downstairs it’s amazing how many tight games are won by set-plays, so it’s something we’ve got to keep working on.

“It was obviously nice to bring Macauley [Bonne] on, I thought he gave us a bit of presence and he sets up the goal straight away.”

The match was a poor spectacle before the lights went out in the 64th minute but improved afterwards, with Wimbledon striker Ali Al-Hamadi coming agonisingly close by striking the inside of the post.

Gillingham grabbed their winner soon after when Jonny Williams’ free-kick was nodded back across by Bonne and Masterson was on hand to prod in from close range and spark wild celebrations.

AFC Wimbledon boss Johnnie Jackson said: “I don’t know how we haven’t won that.

“It’s hard to fathom, really, I thought we were the dominant team in the game.

“I don’t think we were at our best, I don’t think we had loads of outstanding chances, but we limited the opposition to so little and pretty much spent the second half camped in their half.

“We haven’t made the most of those opportunities, whether it was the chances to score, whether it was the opportunities when we broke off our shape and getting that last bit right; the pass, the cross, whatever it was.

“We were just a little bit wasteful in those moments and then we obviously got done on a set-piece.

“I think they had one other good chance I can think of, so to get done like that is hard to take.”


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