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Neil Harris wants to see a ‘snowball effect’ at Gillingham after late victory

Neil Harris hopes Gillingham can build on their FA Cup win (Rhianna Chadwick/PA)
Neil Harris hopes Gillingham can build on their FA Cup win (Rhianna Chadwick/PA)

Neil Harris is hoping Gillingham’s thrilling 3-2 FA Cup replay win over Dagenham will bring the excitement back to Priestfield.

It took a winner five minutes into stoppage time from Hakeeb Adelakun to separate the sides and book a third-round tie with Leicester after George Saunders had equalised late on for the National League side.

Earlier, goals from Elkan Baggott and Max Ehmer had put the hosts in front after Matt Robinson’s fine strike in the 15th minute for the Daggers.

And while Gillingham are in the Sky Bet League Two relegation zone, Harris is taking it one step at a time to try and rekindle support for the team.

Harris said: “I’m pleased the supporters had excitement. The cup tie was all about getting through to the next round and that’s all that matters.

“Everyone gets to look forward to having Leicester here in January now.

“We need to follow that finish with a start against Bradford on Sunday. Once we do that again and again, we will start winning games of football.

“The atmosphere in the stadium will change because people will be relaxed and feel less nervous.

“We want to get them excited to watch the team again. It’s a snowball effect. We’ve done it in small doses but we need to be more consistent.”

While Gillingham will learn lessons from defensive errors that almost sent the tie to extra time, Harris was delighted that his team were able to score more than one goal in a game for the first time since August.

“We said it might be the team that makes the least mistakes and as it turned out we made a bad mistake for their second goal,” Harris said.

“The reason we’ve been good in the cups is because you can get away with moments and not being consistent over 90 minutes, but in the league you can’t do that.

“It should give everyone confidence when you score three goals in a game and had numerous opportunities to score more goals.”

Meanwhile, a deflated Daryl McMahon struggled to hide his disappointment after Dagenham suffered stoppage-time heartbreak for the second time in the tie.

McMahon said: “It’s the cruellest, cruellest way to lose a game.

“It’s disappointing to lose, but the players gave it everything and you have to give them credit for that. It’s gutting if I’m honest.

“I don’t want to say the wrong thing right now. I think we are a bit emotional at the minute with how the game went and how it panned out for us.

“You feel hard done by after all the hard work we put into it.

“We have to pick the bones out of this one and move forward.”