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MANAGER: Sometimes we just have to grind it out

More from Paul Simpson on the Gillingham game

28 August 2022

Club News

MANAGER: Sometimes we just have to grind it out

More from Paul Simpson on the Gillingham game

28 August 2022

A strong start to the second half followed what had been some soul searching during the break with the Blues having looked poised to push on in the first 45 minutes without quite managing to exert their control.

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Winger Jordan Gibson sparked a determined attack that eventually led to the only goal of the game, claimed by Jon Mellish following an imaginative assist from Jack Armer.

“I thought it was a really good move leading up to the goal,” manager Paul Simpson said. “We built up on the right flank and Gibbo went on a bit of a run, and he had a shot that got blocked.

“We kept it alive because we got onto the second balls, which was my complaint from last week, and I still don’t know how the ball went over the line.

“I’ve looked at it a few times and Neil Harris has just told me that it came off their defender. I don’t really care about that, it’s the goal that counts.

“I wish Denno could have got his sixth goal but it’s good that somebody else has got one. Whether it’s Mells, or an own goal, I’ve no idea, but the good thing was that we saw the result over the line.”

And the manner of the finish perhaps best summed up the manner in which the result had to be ground out on a day when not every cylinder was firing at full capacity.

“You have to just find a way to win sometimes,” the gaffer agreed. “The clean sheet came without Tomas having to make saves,  but I can’t remember their keeper making any, it was just a scruffy game of football.

“But there’s a lot of scruffy games of football at every level and you just have to find a way to get a result. In a week or two nobody will remember what the game was like, they’ll just know we got three points out of it.

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“I remember in our promotion season here we had a run of three home games that were all scruffy 1-0 wins. But you get promotion and everyone’s going doolally and enjoying it.

“You just have to grind results out sometimes, and when you do it gives you a confidence lift. The fact we got a clean sheet is a big thing, and we’ve just got to keep working with the players, keep them understanding that if you do the basics right you’ve got half a chance.”

Goal number 22 for the club from Jon Mellish – his first of this campaign – came as a result of his desire to be helping up front, as well as taking care of his defensive duties. 

“That’s what he gives you, because he’s got energy and athleticism to get up and down,” the manager told us. “At times he makes some crazy decisions and you wonder where he’s going, but he gets in there. He gets himself involved.

“I thought defensively we looked really solid, with Hunts just leading it at the back, Tomas taking crosses like he’s doing.

“If we can keep that, and we’ve got good options with Duncan coming into the club, Morgan fit again, Corey did well today, good options to choose from and it’s just up to us to choose the right ones each time.”

Having shared some wise words at half-time, the first-team boss admitted to being pleased with the response he got from the group.

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“We can go up a gear, we saw that for 15 minutes as we worked towards getting the goal, and I think we’re only just scratching the surface at the moment,” he commented. “There’s more to come from us in my opinion.

“I’m really pleased with a lot of things that went on and with some of the bodies we’re getting back in. There are things we can improve on and I hope it will all start to click soon, because I agree that it’s frustrating at the moment.

“I felt as though we tried to force it a little bit too much. I have this thing that if you can get six passes in you’ll take control of that phase of the game. There were too many times when we got three or four then the next one went to a Gillingham player, or we went long.

“When you do that the opposition gets the momentum. We have to be a bit more patient and we have to look after the ball better. We have to be a bit stronger mentally to be able to keep the ball and we didn’t do that particularly well, other than in that spell before we got the goal.”

Constantly looking for that improvement in standards, he added: “I think we’ve just got to be tidier in possession, we’ve got to be better. We didn’t show control when we were in possession enough.

“I thought we gave it away too cheaply, we forced it too early instead of being patient and waiting for the opportunity for things to open up.

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"We’ve got players who’ve got ability - Jack Armer can find a pass, Fin Back’s a good footballer, Callum Guy, Owen Moxon, we’ve got players in there who can find that pass, Jordan Gibson the same. We’ve just got to find the right pass more consistently. 

“I just thought the first half was horrible, it wasn’t a good football game, I didn’t think we showed what we’re capable of and that’s all I’m bothered about, us not them.

“We didn’t do enough in the game, keep the ball for long enough periods. I thought we looked ok defensively, really assured, Tomas came and dealt with crosses, didn’t have any shots to save.

“I felt he could have come earlier on a few occasions, and he could have done it a little bit more to help us, but I am being picky there. The one thing I would say is that we want clean sheets.

“You need them to be successful. You need 17 or 18 to have a chance of a successful season, and there’s one for us. We’ll keep counting them up and hope that we get a lot more.

“What we know is that results breed confidence. Performances can as well, but if you’re performing really well and losing you still get a dint in your confidence. When you’re getting results, and earning a clean sheet, you have to make sure it gives you a boost.”

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A big talking point from the game was a challenge by David Tutonda on Fin Back which looked to all intents and purposes like a bookable offence, which would have been the defender’s second of the day.

“I haven’t seen it back, but for me it’s a reckless challenge and a yellow card, a second one at that,” he said. “I’m not one of those coaches who wants to see red cards, but they are key match incidents.

“That’s what referees get judged on, and I think he’s made a mistake there. How they try to justify it is a little bit embarrassing. Everybody in the ground knew it was a yellow card, and Gillingham knew it was a yellow, which is why they took him off.

“The fourth official still tries to justify it, so I told him at the end that I felt he’d made a mistake and that I wanted him to have a look at it because he has to be better. He has to have a better understanding of things like that in a game.

“With that incident he didn’t do well, there should have been a second card, and then they’d have 40 minutes with ten men and who knows what could have happened.

“Thankfully I’m sitting here with three points under my hat and it hasn’t affected the result. They are major decisions that referees have to get right in my opinion.”

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