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'Lack of zest' costs Gillingham Town at home to Bradford Town in Toolstation Western League

By DavidBol  |  Posted: August 24, 2014

Gillingham Town manager Kevan Davis. Photo by Terry Fisher

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Gillingham Town boss Kevan Davis thinks a lack of urgency cost his side three points against Bradford Town.

The Gills made a disastrous start at Hardings Lane as Jack Hopper broke the deadlock for the visitors after 11 minutes, before Joe Scalding added a second six minutes after half time. The hosts hit back when Benjani Ben-Salem headed home, but couldn’t find a leveller in the closing 20 minutes

“We’re not sure why we started the game so slowly” explained Davis. “Obviously we’re extremely disappointed that we’ve shipped another two goals – we know we have to improve defensively.

“Having got to 2-1 I actually thought the game was there to have a go at, but we didn’t have that zest that we needed.

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“We need to start scoring more goals and maybe look at the club or outside the club for a couple of players with a bit of pace about them. It just seems a little bit lacklustre at the moment.”

Gill made a very nervous start and almost slipped behind in the second minute when goalkeeper Jordan Tewkesbury’s clearance was blocked, with the ball rebounding narrowly wide of the upright.

Bradford took advantage of very little pressure in midfield when Hopper was given too much time on the edge of the box, before cutting inside and lashing a powerful drive into the top corner to open the scoring.

Gillingham’s first attempt fell to Dan Cox after Ashley Clarke’s free-kick thumped into the wall – but Cox’s attempt from the edge of the box skidded wide of the mark.

The home side were given a let off 11 minutes before the interval when Dan King’s hooked cross found Steve Hulbert - who headed against the underside of the crossbar. Hulbert’s second stab was deflected into the arms of Tewkesbury.

Davis introduced Macauly Biddle at half time in place of Nick Hewlett and the Gills did look more of an attacking threat. However, disaster struck for the hosts when they were caught flat-footed by another long ball six minutes after the restart. Scadling’s first attempt was saved, but he doubled his side’s tally on the rebound.

It could have got even worse for Gillingham nine minutes later when Tom Pawley went in with two feet on Josh Brigham and escaped with a yellow card.

Steve Smith almost got Gill on the board after a defensive slip – but his attempt was well blocked at the near post by Ed Baldy. The hosts grabbed a deserved lifeline with 20 minutes remaining when Ben-Salem headed home Clarke’s cross.

However, the Gills couldn’t find an equaliser with Kieran Davis’ sliced volley in the final minute as close as they came to stealing a point.

“We need to look at how we pushed in that last 20 minutes” added Davis. “We needed more urgency but it didn’t happen.

“We need to sharpen up and cut out the silly mistakes. You can’t give any side a 2-0 lead and expect to get back and win the game”

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