Danny Cowley's forceful response after explosive Steve Evans feud at Gillingham as Portsmouth charge towards play-offs

Danny Cowley made no apologies for his fired-up Gillingham celebrations as he saluted Pompey’s strengthening resolve.

By Jordan Cross
Monday, 29th November 2021, 4:55 am

The Blues made it six wins on the bounce and nine unbeaten as they closed the gap on the play-offs to two points with a 1-0 win at Steve Evans’ Gillingham.

The match was marked by lively exchanges on the touchline involving the two management teams, before Michael Jacobs’ deflected stoppage-time goal sparked Pompey celebrations - which saw Cowley booked.

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There were no handshakes between the benches and words exchanged between the sides’ coaching staff, after the intense conclusion.

But Cowley has refused to excuse his reaction, which delighted the jubilant 1,475 travelling Pompey fans.

He said: ‘I didn’t even do any somersaults or backflips!

‘I was jumping up and down and getting excited!

Danny Cowley savours the late Gillingham win. (Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty Images)

‘This is football. We give up our whole lives and work all week for this, so when you get on the right side of it you’re naturally pleased.

‘I’m pleased for everyone associated with this club who’ve worked so hard. I’m pleased for the supporters.

‘Where else in the world would you see that many supporters in an open stand in Arctic conditions supporting the players like they did? I thought they were just incredible.

‘I don’t know how Michael Jacobs found the back of the net. I can only imagine it was the will of the supporters sucking it in.

‘I’m well pleased for our players and I’m well pleased for our supporters.’

The win continues Pompey fast-accelerating momentum as they close in on the top six - and surely makes Cowley a manager-of-the-month contender with four league wins and a draw in November.

The head coach lauded the resolve of his players to deliver that form while tackling a string of suspension and injury issues.

Cowley added: ‘We’ve had a three-game week and took nine points.

‘At the end of it we’ve got a win with no specialist centre-halves against a really direct team.

‘It’s an incredible effort from the players.

‘It was two clean sheets in two games with so many issues.

‘Even yesterday, we’ve had Lee Brown struggling with his back and Reeco (Hackett) who is probably 70 per cent fit. He’s stepped forward and put the team before himself.

‘Lee didn’t feel right in the warm-up and we just couldn’t risk him with the amount of injuries we have in the defensive line.

‘But we’re showing we can win games in different ways - and you can see we’re moving in the right direction.’

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