Neil Harris frustrated Gillingham ‘couldn’t defend’ in loss to Portsmouth

Posted Sunday, April 24, 2022 by PA

Neil Harris frustrated Gillingham ‘couldn’t defend’ in loss to Portsmouth

Neil Harris slammed Gillingham’s defending as they slipped back into the relegation zone after losing 3-1 at Portsmouth.

Harris was sent off for protesting about the amount of first-half stoppage time, adding insult to injury.

The Gills boss said: “It’s disappointing, because we are now back in the relegation zone.

“We didn’t do enough defensively, so it’s a frustrating afternoon for sure. We went for a back five because we couldn’t defend earlier in the season with a back four.

“You can’t come to Fratton Park and talk about starting well, slow it down, frustrate the crowd. You’ve got to be professional with the job, and it was disappointing to go behind as early as we did.

“I’ve questioned why the referee has played beyond the minute’s added time, which has allowed Pompey to get their second, and he sends me off for foul and abusive language.

“We are going to be in the bottom four next Saturday but if you had said to me 11 weeks ago when I came in that going into the Rotherham game we needed a result to stay up, I’d have bitten your hand off.”

It only took three minutes for Pompey to open the scoring. Marcus Harness crossed low after a one-two with Hayden Carter and Ronan Curtis beat David Utonda to the ball to hammer it into the roof of the net.

Gillingham equalised when a long cross from Ben Reeves eluded everyone and the ball dropped for Ryan Jackson to volley home from a wide angle.

But Pompey retook the lead right on the stroke of half-time. A Sean Raggett cross was totally missed by Jackson and the unmarked Curtis had plenty of time to steer the ball past Aaron Chapman.

Pompey increased their lead with a powerful Clark Robertson header from a Michael Jacobs corner.

Pompey head coach Danny Cowley said: “I think it was a really good performance from us today, really professional.

“We scored an early goal and had good control over the game. They scored a very good goal against the run of play but we were able to wrestle back the momentum and get the second right on half-time.

“I thought on the whole it was a very good performance. I was really pleased for Ronan. I thought Joe Morell controlled the game. Hayden Carter is getting better and better each game.

“In fact, there were several good performances today, and it’s difficult when you are playing against a team fighting for their lives.

“Neil has done an amazing job since going there.”


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