Well in the end we got the job done last night, but the less said about the first period the better.
The opening 45 minutes are as bad as I’ve seen us play under Justin Edinburgh, and he rightly laid into the players at half time.
Fair play to the lads though, they clearly took what he said on board, and come the final whistle they had ran out deserved 2-1 winners.
A big positive for me though – apart from the fact that we won the game – was the flexibility shown to change the system and the impact that some of our so called ‘fringe‘ players had on proceedings.
The 3-5-2 wing back set up suited the personnel we had, enabling us to press quicker, stretch the game and push Luton back.
In truth, aside from one Stuart Nelson save , the Gills were largely in command second half despite trailing at the interval.
Defensively Harry Lennon was solid enough on his second debut, and Aaron Morris likewise at both full back and centre back.
Bradley Garmston came on for a late cameo and reminded us and Justin of his capabilities.
Solid enough, he then showed great quality to set up the winner, enough to surprisingly secure the sponsors’ Man of the Match award.
In midfield Emmanuel Osadebe displayed a lot of potential with a display full of drive, energy and no little quality, and alongside him Jake Hessenthaler is starting to show what a good player we all thought he could be.
Offensively Ben Williamson – who replaced the ineffective Luke Norris – made the biggest difference, entering the fray when we were still chasing the game.
He was unlucky not to net himself with a chance that eventually broke to Bradley Dack to slot home the winner, but he had a huge say in our turnaround.
All he needs now is a goal of his own, but if he continues to perform at that level I’m sure his first won’t be too long coming.
Looking at the bigger picture, it is now three games unbeaten since back to back away reversals, so we can head to Chesterfield on Saturday full of confidence.
This squad may not be the largest, but what it lacks in numbers it more than makes up for in endeavour, guts and ability.
Gills Player Ratings
Stuart Nelson – 6.5 No chance with the goal and made a vital second half stop to keep it 0-1.
England’s Number One!! Nels kept the Hatters from doubling their lead before we turned the game around.
Aaron Morris – 7: Very steady since the injury to Ryan Jackson, he was solid enough again at right back and centre back.
Harry Lennon – 6.5: Slotted in well for his second debut and should be pleased with his efforts.
Max Ehmer – 7: Solid alongside Lennon, he showed good composure to net the leveller, his first since March.
Brennan Dickenson – 6: Resisted the urge to dive in to tackles and got forward where possible, but fell asleep at the far post for Luton’s opener.
Jordan Houghton – 6. Took on the role in front of the back four and was steady enough before being withdrawn.
Emmanuel Osadebe – 6.5: Once he got into his stride he was impressive. His powerful, rangy runs caused the Hatters problems in the second period.
Jake Hessenthaler – 6.5: Another who grew into the game. Playing with more confidence, he continues to impress this season.
Jermaine McGlashan – 6.5: Great to see him back, he benefitted from the half time change of system and caused problems with his direct and pacey running.
Luke Norris – 5: Impressive so far this term, but well off the pace. Aside from one header wide he just couldn’t get into the game. May need a rest?
Cody McDonald – 6: For work rate he couldn’t be faulted, his commitment epitomised in the lead up to equaliser, but it wouldn’t drop for him in front of goal.
Ben Williamson (Norris) – 7: Played a huge part in the turn around. Put himself about, brought others into play and nearly scored in the lead up to the winner.
Bradley Dack (Houghton) – 6.5: Tried to stretch the game as soon as he came on, and was in the right place to slot home the winning goal.
Bradley Garmston (Dickenson) – 6.5: Caused havoc in the 16 minutes he was on, and his lung bursting dash down the left lead to the winner.
UP THE GILLS!!