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Tuesday, 5th October 2021 Kick-off 19:00
Evans: Both Town Goals Offside and We Should Have Had a Penalty
Wednesday, 6th Oct 2021 14:52
Gillingham manager Steve Evans claimed both Town’s goals in his side’s 2-0 defeat to the Blues at the Priestfield Stadium should have been disallowed, while his own team should have been awarded a second-half penalty.
Joe Pigott netted in the first half for Town and Conor Chaplin in the second as the Blues comfortably beat the Gills.
However, as is usually the case when Town face Evans’s teams, the Scot felt his side was treated unfairly by the officials, although on this occasion there was no clash with the Town boss of the day, previous games against the Blues having resulted in harsh words being exchanged with Mick McCarthy and Paul Lambert.
“On the night I am too far away, certainly the first goal from Joe Pigott to determine [if it was offside], but all the boys said off and their second goal is clearly off from where we were. It certainly looked like a penalty on Charlie Kelman,” he told the Kent Messenger.
“When we went in and looked at the video of the key incidents, well the match officials continually get worse, don’t they? The standard is dropping considerably and I am getting fed up with going in to see them afterwards.
“The assessors, who are the coaches of the referees and in the main were referees from the Premier League and Championship previously, [were] excellent referees with good judgment, and I am sick of the times I go in there and they have empathy with me.
“I sent the footage before I left the stadium to the head of referees, Mike Jones. He has come back and said Joe Pigott was half a metre to a metre clearly offside.
“The second one the ball travelled a long way but looks clearly offside, and with Charlie Kelman the defender attempts to play the ball but takes the man, penalty.”
He added: “I don’t think there is any question of integrity, I just think the standard is decreasing every season that goes past in League One and Two level.
“You work hard with that back four to hold a strong line. Joe Pigott finished well but it was offside and the second one is embarrassing for me and to not give the penalty is a shocking, shocking decision.
“It is not the referee for the offsides, that is down to his assistants who get the big two incidents wrong, but [referee] Trevor Kettle should see that penalty as clearly as everyone else in the stadium, including Paul Cook who I had a beer with after the game.
“He acknowledged the goals were questionable and as he said when he walked in [to the manager’s office], ‘Let’s not talk about my goals or the penalty you didn’t get!’
“It doesn’t make up for some of the poorer performances individually [from his players] but goals and incidents change games and our best spell was probably when Charlie gets brought down.
“I looked at the body language of young Bailey Akehurst and Harvey Lintott when they scored the second goal and the boy ran through, they are looking at the assistant referee and they are gobsmacked.”
Evans felt there were positives from his team despite the result: “There were pluses but there were also three or four who we were looking at and thinking ‘Go on, step up and give me a problem for picking a team Saturday,’ but they didn’t really jump up and say ‘I should be playing at Wycombe’.
Regarding the Blues, who made 11 changes from the team which lost at Accrington at the weekend, he added: “Paul Cook in his own words said that team who played would finish in the top 10 in League One. You look at the boy [Kayden] Jackson who started, he cost £1.4 million and I know that because we agreed to same fee at Peterborough United.
“On personal terms he chose Ipswich. He is a great kid and I spoke to him before the game but he can’t get a sniff.
“If you are spending a £10 million budget like Ipswich do, and I only give the new owners credit for that, then that is the type of back-up you are going to have.
“Our opposition in competition in League One is not Ipswich, Sunderland, not Sheffield Wednesday, yes we will compete with them and do our level best, but these guys are spending between eight and 10 times more than our budget, 13-14 for the likes of Sheffield Wednesday. That gets you £15-£20,000 a week players. There marks the difference.”
Photo: Action Images
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