Hessenthaler: We had to grind out victory: Match Review

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Gillingham boss Andy Hessenthaler admitted his side had to grind out the points after they beat Cheltenham 1-0 on the opening day of the season.

Lewis Montrose's clinical strike midway through the first half proved decisive, although the Gills were forced to endure a nervous last 10 minutes after substitute Luke Rooney was given a straight red card following a rash challenge on Brian Smikle.

The Gills took over a month to register their first victory last season and Hessenthaler said: "We didn't really get going with the football but we have to give them a bit of credit as they made it difficult for us with the way they played.

"They got the ball back to front quite quickly and had good strength up front feeding off the bits and pieces. It was a tough afternoon with the football.

"Sometimes it is about grinding out results and getting over that winning line.

"All in all, it wasn't the greatest game of football in the world but we are here to win games, and so we are delighted."

The afternoon was soured with the late dismissal of Rooney and Hessenthaler has yet to decide if he will appeal.

He added: "Curtis has tried to be a bit clever and tried to flick it to Roons, it's a 50-50 ball, and knowing Rooney as I do he can't tackle to be fair to him. He is a footballer and that's not in his game.

"Looking at it at the time I thought it was a bit harsh but what I am disappointed in is their number 14, James Spencer, was on a yellow so why doesn't he then get another yellow for pushing Joe Martin in the back and into the advertising boards? Why is that not a yellow? They took him off in the end, perhaps that's the reason why.

"We will have a look and if there is a chance of appealing then we will but you have to be so spot on with these appeals because nine times out of 10 you lose them."

Cheltenham boss Mark Yates felt his side were unfortunate not to claim a share of the spoils.

He said: "I thought we were the better team and were very unlucky not to get anything from the game.

"They had a couple of shots on the break late on but apart from that we dominated the second half.

"I just felt that we fell into the trap of swinging the ball into the box in the last few minutes rather than making the extra man count.

"Overall I was pleased with the performance, with the effort and some of the football we played. Gillingham are a strong team and we did well against them.

"Gillingham will try and suck you into playing square and back passes.

"For 20 minutes they hardly had a shot then we gave away one square ball and didn't stop a cross and they scored from a lucky ricochet and a good shot in the end.

"We can always be better but there were a lot of positives to take apart from the result.

"Our supporters were superb - it was a difficult trip down here - and I think they showed their appreciation of the players' efforts.

"I'm disappointed but not too downhearted and we have plenty of good things to continue to work on.

"I thought it was quite an even game. We had a plenty of goal opportunities but didn't make them count and now we have to stick together and keep working hard."

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Luke Rooney
Joe Martin
James Spencer
Lewis Montrose
League Two
James Spencer

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