Steve Evans branded Portsmouth lucky and let rip at referee Dean Whitestone as his injury-hit Gillingham slipped to a dramatic 1-0 defeat.
Jack Tucker’s stoppage-time own goal at Priestfield left the Gills in the League One drop zone and extended their winless run to six games.
John Akinde and Danny Lloyd both went close for the hosts before Whitestone denied Evans’ side a penalty when Akinde and Gavin Bazunu tangled in the box.
And the angry Gills boss, who had a depleted squad at his disposal, said: “Portsmouth got a bit of luck with their goal today – they deserved to get beaten.
“Anybody who doesn’t think we deserved to win today must have been watching the game with the back of their head.
“John Akinde and Danny Lloyd have had good chances – one on ones – and they’ve not really made the goalkeeper work.
“And we’ve had a blatant penalty not given. I think the referee’s performance was shocking.
“We had a really decent performance yet we lost. You know why you lose games when you play badly, but it’s hard to take today.
“I think I said pre-match that Portsmouth have had their Christmas early with the lack of options we have, and they’ve had it even earlier by getting the three points today.
“We’ve dropped into the bottom four, but we know how many players we’ve got injured.
“We’ve had 10 missing, we’ve got academy kids on the pitch. The boys are very down tonight after this sucker-punch but we’ll reset ourselves.”
Jamie Cumming acrobatically denied George Hirst after just two minutes before Akinde and Marcus Harness went close at either end.
Whitestone refused to budge when Evans’ side appealed for a penalty before Danny Lloyd then fired high and wide for the Gills.
The game looked to be heading for a stalemate but three minutes into stoppage time, the ball deflected off luckless Tucker from Michael Jacobs’ shot to propel the visitors to victory.
The result marked Portsmouth’s fourth league win on the spin. Boss Danny Cowley said: “To keep a clean sheet was a magnificent effort from the group.
“Getting the winner in the dying moments was well deserved. It was very sweet – it’s not easy to come here because of the way they set up.
“Credit to the group for standing up to them because they’re such a physical and direct team.
“We’ll play a lot better, that’s for sure, but it wasn’t a game for the purists. But, if you want to be a good team, you have to learn to win games in all different ways.
“It’s a good win. It’s good to win while you’re a work in progress. We’ve got a lot to do to get this team to where we want to be but the boys are fighting for each other.
“You saw the celebrations at the end – it was great to be able to do that with the fans.”
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