Allen hails Gills

PA Sport
Martin Allen was a proud man after watching Gillingham beat Southend
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Martin Allen was a proud man after watching Gillingham beat Southend

Martin Allen paid tribute to his Gillingham side after a backs to the wall performance saw the 10 men hold out for a 1-0 victory over Southend.

The Gills had teenager Bradley Dack sent off in first half injury-time for a lunge on Mark Phillips, minutes after the youngster had won Gillingham a penalty when he was brought down by Ryan Cresswell. Danny Kedwell dispatched the spot-kick for his seventh goal of the season, but after that it was desperate defence for the home side.

"The players, the supporters and all the staff have done well," said a proud Allen. "What a night it was. Having one of our better players injured early on and another sent off was tough."

He added: "In the second half it was backs to the wall but we defended rigidly, the goalie made some good saves, the whole side defended and they all worked hard for a great win.

"We had a young team out and it was a great atmosphere and that is one of the teams that will probably be in the play-offs so it is a good result. Everyone to a man stood their ground and battled right to the end and I am very proud of them.

"Since I have been here the players have been fantastic. They have been very disciplined and respectful and it is no coincidence that we have all these points so quick."

The visitors had keeper Paul Smith stretchered off early on after a nasty collision with Gills striker Deon Burton.

Blues manager Paul Sturrock admitted his side had been below par in the final third, and said: "We are disappointed. The referee's decision has been a feature of the game. We had a certain penalty denied.

"Coming here to a difficult place, they are the form team at the minute and we competed with them all night. Their goalie had more saves to make than ours. I was disappointed with our final ball, that final cross and that final finish which let us down a bit in the second half.

"I just felt that one or two of our players were off the pace compared to the weekend but we have to take the positives throughout the game. I didn't think we deserved to lose the game. The substitutions were dictated by injuries which didn't help things and we were chasing the game with our height and it just didn't seem to be our night."

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