21 March 2023

Lee Bell furious as Crewe fall to third-straight defeat at Gillingham

21 March 2023

Lee Bell was left furious after his Crewe side fell to a third-straight League Two defeat as Gillingham ran out 2-1 winners at Priestfield.

After a goalless first half of few chances, the game came to life when Tom Nichols opened the scoring for The Gills after 57 minutes after a poor clearance from Dan Adebisi.

The game was level again within five minutes when Callum Ainley fired home a spectacular half-volley, but less than 10 minutes later, the Railwaymen found themselves behind again when Aiden O’Brien scored his first goal for the hosts to seal victory.

An irate Bell insisted that his players must improve as their recent slump continued.

He said: “I’m not frustrated, I’m angry. We’ve gifted two goals and the last four goals we’ve conceded are a disgrace.

“I’ve got broad shoulders and I’ll take any criticism that comes my way, but I’ve told the players they need to look at themselves.

“You can’t legislate for it. I will take responsibility for our performances, but the players have to take responsibility for what’s happening out on the pitch.

“There were two teams, both had the handbrake on and were scared to death to lose tonight. They never took the handbrake off, we just gifted them two goals.

“Their back four didn’t make an error all game. They didn’t foul, they headed it, they cleared it.

“I can’t tell you how angry I am. I’m shouting on the pitch ‘no more mistakes’. I made it as simple as I can for the players. Then what happens? We make a mistake.

“It’s not as if we’re losing three or four-nil. There is nothing in these games. We’re making schoolboy errors. I said to the players before tonight that it’s a 10-game season – what a start that is.”

Bell’s counterpart Neil Harris believes it was a good learning curve for his players, but the result was overshadowed by his sending off late on after Oli Hawkins’ disallowed goal.

“It was a learning curve tonight, I thought Crewe were good at slowing the game down and they put in a solid performance for 55 minutes,” said Harris.

“That was our poorest home performance we’ve had recently but we found a way to win.

“I very rarely talk about referees as it’s not my thing, but the decision for Oli Hawkins’ goal to be disallowed was a shambles.

“He never gave one single free-kick to Oli – they held him the whole game. Then one ball goes in the box, Oli heads it, no contact whatsoever and he gives a foul.

“I used choice terminology and the fourth official couldn’t wait to grass me up to the referee.

“I’ll take my punishment and what comes my way, but I want him to look back at the goal and send me an apology.”

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