Gills boss Neil Harris reacts to their League 2 win at Priestfield

Gills boss Neil Harris reacts to their League 2 win at Priestfield

Gillingham scored more than one goal in a league game for the first time since April and his manager felt he could have scored six.

Two ended up being enough for the Gills – bolstered by four signings on the pitch – to defeat Hartlepool in a second-bottom League 2 clash. The game ended 2:0.

Manager Neil Harris had to pick new players and won on Saturday (61848943)

There was positive energy on and off the pitch as the club’s transformation got off to a good start under their new owners The Galinsons.

“I thought it was a great day,” said manager Neil Harris. “It was a day where it could match last Saturday (in the FA Cup). After the performance from Leicester and the atmosphere, it’s been a fantastic week for us.

“The training has been boosted every day by newcomers, the group has grown in confidence and conviction. Our game was freer and the first goal is crucial at all levels, certainly at the level we’re playing at the moment, we just didn’t score enough first goals. As we came forward it gave the rest of the group faith and confidence.

“It was a very good performance, a strong performance, I know they were disallowed and they hit the post, but we could have had six.”

Tom Nichols scored Gils’ first goal in the first half but the visitors almost got one back as a goal was ruled out for offside. Harris’s men went straight at the other end and Nichols played in Dom Jefferies for a crucial second.

Newcomer Tom Nichols on Gillingham's attack against Hartlepool United (61848712)
Newcomer Tom Nichols on Gillingham’s attack against Hartlepool United (61848712)

With Nichols and his new signing Oli Hawkins at the helm for Gills, there was a fresh look for the team.

Harris said: “As a couple they looked like they had played together for years, the chemistry, it all came together for them as a couple, the cleverness of their game. None of them are that mobile, but the timing of their movement is another class, that gave us the base.

“Tim Dieng (played behind the top two) had a great performance and a great debut. Glenn (Morris in goal) was excellent and deserved to concede.

“We were just very strong, which we saw in a structure of our game and a little more quality in the group, players who have been here all season also played so much better.

“Dom Jeffereies, not just the goal but his overall performance was good as we’ve seen all season.”

Alex MacDonald provided the assist for Gillingham's opener (61848982)
Alex MacDonald provided the assist for Gillingham’s opener (61848982)

With an existing football structure and new players in the building, the win underpinned a massive improvement for the club under the new owners.

“I’m going to sleep well tonight,” Harris said after a tough first 11 months at the club. “Ask anyone, I was like a different character for the week.

“It’s been difficult for everyone at the football club and I’m the one who has to face it all the time, it’s been difficult. Everyone asks what a Neil Harris team looks like, it’s a lot more like it.”

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