11 March 2023

Neil Harris says Gillingham not safe yet after cruising past Tranmere

11 March 2023

Gillingham boss Neil Harris is not celebrating safety just yet after his side coasted to a 2-0 win over Tranmere at Priestfield Stadium.

The Gills are now nine points clear of the relegation zone thanks to goals from Shaun Williams and Conor Masterson.

Harris’ side have lost just twice in 12 matches since mid-January, winning five out of six home matches in that time.

But Harris stopped short of declaring Gillingham safe from dropping out of the Football League even if he was pleased with the undeniable transformation since the turn of the year.

He said: “It’ll be nice to get over the 40-point barrier soon but we’ve got 11 games to go – that’s a quarter of a season still.

“We were on 14 points at the halfway stage. It’s embarrassing looking back and seeing that but it shows how far we’ve come.

“I want us to keep building and delivering performances. Right now we’re a force to be reckoned with at home and on the road we’re proving difficult to beat.”

Centre-half Masterson’s strike seven minutes from time was just his second goal in league football and his first since July 2020 for QPR.

It was also 36-year-old Williams’ first goal since December 2019 and Harris was delighted the win came from unconventional sources.

Harris added: “We’ve got goals all over the pitch right now. That shows we’re confident and there’s belief in the squad.

“Shaun Williams grew into the game; even at his age it showed how much a goal gives you confidence.”

Meanwhile, Tranmere boss Micky Mellon felt his side’s performance fell far below the standards expected at the club despite the absence of several key players.

He said: “We were probably always going to be up against it because of the numbers we had missing.

“But you would expect more from a Tranmere team – that wasn’t a Tranmere team. We’re short of where we should be.

“It was a very frustrating and very disappointing performance. We did all we could, we prepared them as best as we could, and they gave us everything they had.

“I couldn’t say they didn’t give it a go, they just lacked the quality to make an impact.”

Mellon also commented that certain unnamed individuals brought into the side did not make the most of the chance offered to them.

He added: “People were given the opportunity. What we’ve seen is they’ve got a bit to go before they represent Tranmere in the way we’re used to seeing.

“I’ve got to be careful what I say because we’ve got to go again with this group.”

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