Steve Evans admits Gillingham’s top-six hopes are over after AFC Wimbledon loss

Steve Evans was unhappy after Gillingham's defeat at AFC Wimbledon
Steve Evans was unhappy after Gillingham's defeat at AFC Wimbledon (PA Wire)
22:06pm, Tue 23 Feb 2021
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Steve Evans let rip at his Gillingham players and said their top-six hopes are “finished” after they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at struggling AFC Wimbledon

Jack Rudoni’s stunning late strike proved the difference at Plough Lane to leave the Gills nine points adrift of the play-off places.

Evans criticised his players for a lack of focus and reckons the result was the final nail in the coffin for their lingering top-six hopes.

The Scot, 58, said: “We can’t get the play-offs. We’re finished. You can’t turn up and play like that for 45 – that’s the hurtful thing, not them getting the winner.

“Some of them (the players) are not good enough. There’s a lack of focus, a lack of knowing the standard you have to be at to win games, and that’s the inconsistency.

“The second-half performances are very good, but you can’t have that massive difference in performance.

“First half compared to the second half, it’s alarm bells. That’s what games like this give you, alarm bells.

“First half we were poor. Two poor teams first half – it looked like two relegation teams first half. We were as bad as them.

“We made the changes, stepped it up, had all the play, all the purpose, had half-chances, a massive chance for (Vadaine) Oliver – as a striker you have to score them – and then their guy’s had a good strike.

“We should be coming here and winning. They’re a poor side. We’ve done our homework to know we should be beating teams like that, and we didn’t.”

Gillingham failed to muster a single shot on target throughout the first half in a game where neither side really looked like scoring.

But Rudoni’s late intervention gave the hosts a crucial victory to haul them up to 28 points in Mark Robinson’s first home game as permanent manager.

Wimbledon lie one point clear of 21st-placed Bristol Rovers with a game in hand and host high-flying Hull on Saturday.

Robinson hopes match-winner Rudoni’s goal is a sign of things to come but insists he won’t be getting carried away despite their hard-earned victory.

“I’m so chuffed for Jack,” he said.

“He feels he should have five or six this season, and he’s missed a few simpler ones, but then he’s done that, which is going to be a great boost for him, because he’s technically fantastic and he’s always been capable of that. So long may those continue.

“I’ve been talking about behaviours, and the best environments have elite behaviours, and we showed that in the defensive third, throwing our bodies on the line.

“We could have been better on the ball, but we saw ourselves through it. And then we got on the ball again a little bit better and showed that quality to get the goal.

“It’s pleasing, but it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just three points, it’s a good performance but it’s about what happens next.”

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