Steve Evans was left with mixed emotions after Gillingham finished the season with a 1-0 win over Plymouth and insisted his side could have won the play-offs.
Vadaine Oliver converted Olly Lee’s glanced header from Robbie McKenzie’s cross at the back post in the 28th minute to seal all three points for the hosts at Priestfield.
The goal was Oliver’s 17th in the league and ensured Gillingham secured a top 10 finish for the second consecutive season – but Evans believes it could have been a much different story.
“I think we deserved to win the game,” Evans said.
“It’s a good win against a team who were at full strength. I’m very frustrated and I have been for two to three weeks now. I believe that if we’d have got in the play-offs, we’d have won them.
“We know what we could have achieved but we didn’t have enough to see it through. I’ll go away and review all of that. I’ll think about every point dropped and every goal conceded.
“The bigger picture is that we came 10th in the league. Given the state we were in at the start of the season, a lot of people thought we would be in a relegation battle.
“But everybody at the club has pulled together. Look at the clubs around us – we’re only a couple of points away from Portsmouth and Charlton. I think this 10th place means more than last year.
“Taking into account all the factors at the start of the season – we’d lost our best players, we were without any training kit, it was a horrendous situation – I’d rate this season an 8/9 out of 10.”
The first half was delayed by 11 minutes following a clash of heads between Oliver and Kell Watts seconds after kick-off, which left the Plymouth defender requiring medical treatment.
Argyle boss Ryan Lowe was disappointed not to take anything from the match.
He said: “I thought we did enough not to lose the game. We had more than enough chances, but we didn’t have the desire to get in the box at times.
“We knew what we were going to come up against, Gillingham are a tough team, but I thought we dealt with most of it quite well. I’m pleased overall with the attitude of the lads.
“They’ve tried their hardest. Their goal was a moment of us not tracking the runner. Then their lad [Olly Lee] actually misses the target, but Vadaine Oliver is there to knock it in at the back post.”
On Watts’ injury, he added: “We haven’t had any information on him yet. I don’t think there was any malice in it from Vadaine Oliver, he’s just challenging for the ball.
“We’re not blaming anybody for it, it’s a freak accident. Vadaine has sent his best to Kell. The most important thing is that we get him right. Credit to the referee – he did great in the end.”
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