26 August 2023

Ben Garner pleased to give Colchester’s travelling fans something to cheer about

26 August 2023

Ben Garner dedicated Colchester’s first win of the season to their travelling fans after watching his team storm to a shock 3-0 victory at Gillingham.

Colchester had propped up Sky Bet League Two before their trip to the leaders but goals from Fiacre Kelleher, Samson Tovide and Bradley Ihionvien sealed a sensational win.

Garner believes there is work to do in the transfer window before his squad is in the shape he wants, but has now challenged them to kick on up the table.

“It’s a win for the supporters today as the start to the season has not been easy for them,” the head coach said.

“I’ll have four or five hours of relief before I’ll get back to it. We believe in the group and what we’re doing, but this is a big week for us now.

“We’re three players away from what we want to be as a squad, so hopefully we can strengthen in the last week of the window.

“That was thoroughly deserved. I’m really pleased for the players as they all put a huge shift in today. It’s fantastic to come here, play in that manner, and score three goals. We’ve got to kick on now.

“We spoke in the week about how Gillingham haven’t conceded a goal in the league, and asked the group what difference it would make if we went there and scored.

“Gillingham haven’t had to chase a game, they’re very good defensively, and they’ve shown that they’re difficult to break down if they go ahead. We weathered the early storm and dealt with their threats really well.

“I’m delighted with the clean sheet as that was our target at the start of the week; to get the three goals on top was lovely.”

Meanwhile, Neil Harris denied Gillingham had been served a reality check but admits his team “crumbled” in front of their own fans.

The Gills were top of the table and had won their first four League Two games 1-0, but crashed back down to earth and Harris insists Saturday’s result serves a reminder of how unpredictable League Two can be.

“I’ve been honest after the games we’ve won this season, which served as a reminder of the standards we set and how we need to maintain them,” he said.

“The first goal was vital and we had three chances in the first half to score it. Today we couldn’t break down Colchester’s defensive block, so that’s something we need to learn to do.

“I wasn’t surprised by Colchester’s counter-attacking threat today. But I’m disappointed that we didn’t hang in there after conceding the first goal. We crumbled a bit in the last half hour.

“We’ve got 12 points after five games, so I’m still really happy. That’s a magnificent return. We just need to park this one.”

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