Royle pulls no punches

BLUES boss Joe Royle pulled no punches as he lashed his side for their four-goal folly.Sluggish Town went behind to a Rod Wallace opener, although Ian Westlake equalised five minutes later.

BLUES boss Joe Royle pulled no punches as he lashed his side for their four-goal folly.

Sluggish Town went behind to a Rod Wallace opener, although Ian Westlake equalised five minutes later.

Mamady Sidibe and Paul Shaw put Gillingham in control but the Blues fought back with two goals of their own from Pablo Counago and Tommy Miller.

But they still ended up on the losing end of a seven-goal thriller when a mistake led to Mark Saunders firing in the winner deep into time added on.

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Royle said: " We were sloppy at the back. Our defending at times was amateurish."

Even so, Royle regretted missed chances and the opportunity to close the gap on the league leaders.

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He added: "If you concede four goals at home you can't really complain but we have missed chances, one off the line, so the defeat was hard on us.

"Some of our defending, especially the back five, just was not us. We have been defending better than that.

"I didn't trust us defensively from the first minute. It would be hard to think of one of our defensive players who was anywhere near their best form. I would be looking at Jermaine Wright again as man of the match. We have scored three goals but no-one else was anywhere near their best form."

The error-strewn game was epitomised in the dying seconds when Fabian Wilnis kept the ball in play, allowing Mark Saunders to score the Gills winner four minutes into time-added on.

Royle threw a protective arm around the Dutchman and pointed out that others had made mistakes earlier.

He said: "There is no need to make a big issue with Fabian, he knows what he has done. We gave another one away just before half-time when Richard Naylor has done the same and not cleared.

"Gillingham must think Christmas has come early coming here. They are no prolific scorers yet they have got four here, and two have been completely gift-wrapped.

"When they were keeping the ball in the corner I was saying I would be happy with a point with the way we have played but the next thing we know we have given it back to them and bang – it is 4-3."

It looked at one stage that replacing Chris Bart-Williams with Tommy Miller may have been an inspired substitution as the attacking midfielder breathed new life into the Blues.

Royle said: "When we got to three each I thought we were going to go on and win it. The game was very open but they looked very tired after their travelling in midweek and I fancied us.

"But we didn't get the goal when we needed it and their fourth goal just summed the game up, and summed us up defensively."

After winning the October award for manager of the month, Royle was quick to dismiss the loss was down to him.

He added: "I can honestly say I had no part in any of the goals. That is a red herring."

With the run of six games unbeaten having ended, Town have not lost any ground in terms of position and are still seventh.

Royle said: "We have to get going again and start another run. This does not negate what we have done before but it is a shame we could not keep it going."

Town can get back on winning ways at Derby County next week, managed by former Blues boss George Burley, but may have to wait another two weeks after that as the Nottingham Forest game is likely to be postponed due to international call-ups.

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