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Robbo: Pain for young squad can lead to positives

Reaction from our Head Coach

17 August 2021

Mark Robinson said conceding a last-gasp equaliser was “a kick in the teeth”, but he believes that his young squad can turn the experience into a positive.

Elation at scoring what seemed like the winner turned to dejection at conceding deep into injury-time against Gillingham. With seven changes made to his starting line-up, it was an even younger side than what was selected for our previous league matches, and Robbo was pleased with the performance on the night.

“We have got to be looking at the positives, even the pain as a young squad that they are going to be feeling now," said Robbo. "Hopefully that will put them in good stead for the future because they were really hurting in there. You don’t want to be hurting, you want the three points, but it can end up being a positive. They can look back at how they felt. We might be in that position again in another game and we will deal with it slightly differently.

“I looked at the shape that was going to hurt them, and then we fitted the players around that shape. We were also aware of what they were going to offer and what we would need to do. That was why the selection was made. If we had won 1-0 everyone would have said it was brilliant, but it didn’t. We’ve got 21 talented players in that dressing room, so it’s not about tinkering. It’s about looking at the opposition. Formation flexibility is a massive plus for us, the lads have done that very comfortably. We’ve got to keep offering the opposition different challenges and I think that will be a strength of ours.”

On the last-gasp Gills equaliser, and how it could have been prevented, Robbo said: “Obviously, it feels like a kick in the teeth for everyone: fans, players, and staff. In the first-half we played a shape that we thought would really hurt them, but we didn’t quite get the flow that we were hoping for. It was a bit of a nothing first-half, though I thought we edged it. We changed it in the second-half, and I thought we were totally dominant. We were just hoping for that goal and when it did I couldn’t see an equaliser coming to be honest.

“We need to look at if there was anything we could have done better. We possibly gave away a few niggly fouls that we didn’t need to. That was probably the only way they were going to score, through a bit of chaos from a free-kick. The ball dropped to them and it was deflected. We need to look at that, but we can’t steer away from the positives.

“The place was rocking, and I was thinking that we would be sending the fans home happy with three points, and when the ball broke I thought, ‘he has got to be blowing his whistle’, but it went on for another 30 or 40 seconds. They probably scored from their goalkeeper wasting time at 0-0 – that was probably where the extra time has come from.”

Pic: Ian Stephen, Pro Sports Images.

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