Points aren't the pointer to a strong start for Evans

          FAN FARE | Gills success won't be built in a day

          2019/10/23 17:23
          Toby Jones (Intro)

          After being pegged back at Shrewsbury yesterday evening many Gillingham fans may be disappointed as to their team’s seemingly slow start to the season. However, Gills fan Matt Boosey (@GillsInTheBlood) has seen his side doing the right things so far, he says the stats don’t lie - wins will soon follow.

          As plenty are aware, I wasn’t a huge fan of Steve Evans coming on board as manager when it was first rumoured back in the spring. 

          Appointing a man with a supposedly somewhat chequered history within the game - not to mention previous run ins with the club we hold dear to our hearts - did not seem like the most logical move for me, especially with the likes of Darrell Clarke and Paul Hurst available at the time.

          Appointed he was though, so I had two options.

          Walk away from the club I have supported for two and a half decades or - having listened to him and his trusted assistant Paul Raynor at a fans’ Q & A session - give him a chance and get behind the team he would try to put together.

          I chose the second. 

          Fast forward a few months and last night we headed to Shrewsbury for our third Tuesday night league fixture of the campaign that I have already described as promising yet frustrating. 

          Come the full time whistle we had been pegged back after Stuart O’Keefe’s penalty had given us a lead and had to settle for a share of the spoils.

          The draw means we are still winless on the road this season, but on the flip side we have only lost twice in seven games away from home this term.  

          ©Getty /

          Position wise it sees us currently sit 17th in League 1, three points off the bottom three, three from the top half and seven from the top six. 

          That’s the top six that Evans said he would ‘like to’ be challenging for but not what some perceive to be what he promised us.

          Now I am fully aware that plenty of supporters aren’t fans of the larger than life Scotsman and probably never will be, and that is fine.

          But what I do find slightly staggering - bearing in mind I’ve already been very open in stating I thought there were better options available who we could’ve appointed - is the amount of people who seemingly want to find any little thing to use as a stick to beat him with.

          Therefore I thought I would do a little digging, purely because all I seem to see after each game without a win is that proverbial stick being used.

          ‘Poor start’ here, ‘no better than Pennock’ there, amongst other things.

          Frankly, it’s a tad boring to read.

          So, with that in mind, below are the comparative league starts after 14 fixtures from the last four campaigns including this one:

          As I have already admitted, the start to the season has been frustrating.

          Leading in eight of our 14 games and only winning three is a pain, but look a little deeper and there is plenty that Evans is getting right. 

          Of the four managers who have been in charge at the start of the last quartet of campaigns, Evans has statistically been responsible for:

          Least defeats: 5
          Most draws: 6 
          Least goals against: 17
          Best goal difference: +2

          On top of this he is only one point shy of our highest points tally over the same period (15 earned), is only one goal scored short from the 20 netted in 2016-17 under Justin Edinburgh - our best gaffer of the last decade according to plenty - and has won only a single game less than the 4 accrued by Edinburgh in that same season.

          But back to those four statistics where he is excelling, all four are for me excellent pointers towards the fact that he is making us harder to beat than before and consistently making us competitive in games. Only one defeat by more than a single goal also backs this point up (Oxford United 0-3).

          As I have said plenty of times, parts of the campaign have undeniably been frustrating, but plenty of other parts of it have also been promising.

          And at the risk of repeating myself, all this is being done with a brand new group of players and now having already played five of the current top six and eight of the current top ten. 

          I totally understand that if you are not a fan then you are not a fan, that’s fine. 

          I wasn’t, remember.

          But looking at the statistics as a whole - not just the bits that suit certain opinions - and forgetting for a minute who is in charge and rather concentrating on what he is getting from the group of players, indicates we are still heading in the right direction.

          Remember Rome?

          Many thanks to Matt for this article. For more great content on Gillingham, please give @GillsInTheBlood a follow on Twitter. Or read his previous article here.


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