'They have a very expensive striker' - Gillingham assistant's verdict on his side's loss to Portsmouth

Gillingham assistant-boss Paul Raynor rued how ‘very expensive striker’ John Marquis was afforded the space to break the deadlock for Pompey in their win at Priestfield.

Wednesday, 21st October 2020, 10:10 am
John Marquis celebrates his goal at Gillingham. Picture: Nigel Keene
John Marquis celebrates his goal at Gillingham. Picture: Nigel Keene

On 14 minutes, the ex-Doncaster marksman picked up the ball outside the area before creating himself space to apply a left-footed finish beyond home keeper Jack Bonham.

Michael Jacobs wrapped up the success for Kenny Jackett’s side when doubling the lead three minutes later.

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Pompey held on to their advantage well, missing several big opportunities in the second half while limiting Gillingham to few goalscoring chances.

Raynor felt Marquis was given far too much room to have a sight on goal and was frustrated how the Gills were caught on the counter-attack for Jacobs’ effort.

From there, Steve Evans’ right-hand man knew the hosts gave themselves ‘a mountain to climb’ if they were to get anything out of the League One clash.

Raynor told the Kent Messenger: ‘We gave ourselves a mountain to climb.

‘We started brightly, we asked the boys to be brave, to get on the ball and cause Portsmouth problems.

‘We were disappointed with our lack of possession on Saturday. We wanted the players to get on the ball in midfield and we started very brightly. We moved the ball well and huffed and puffed, tried to get into the opposition half and then we have conceded two very poor goals.

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‘The disappointing thing is that we have not got anything out of the last two games and we have defended a bit naively.

‘We changed it (switching the two centre-halves from the weekend) to give ourselves a bit more aggression in the central pairing but it was more the naivety of the defending.

‘They were aggressive and they tried but I think the two goals were really poor.

‘You can't give a player of the quality of John Marquis that amount of time on the edge of the box. Our strikers didn’t get that room in the box. That is the difference.

‘They have a very expensive striker that can go and put the ball in the bottom corner but you need to have the space to do that.

‘We should have stopped the shot and then we concede a silly second one from our own free-kick, we get caught on the break.

‘We're 2-0 down having started the game really well. We seemed confident in possession, but then we get caught by two sucker punches and are 2-0 down against a very good team, which makes it very difficult.

‘Second half we tweaked a few things and played very well.

‘On another day we could have nicked something out of the game but for all of our efforts in the second it wasn’t to be but you have to give credit to Kenny, he sets his teams up very well.’

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