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League One

Allen buoyed by Gills fightback

25 August 2013

Gillingham boss Martin Allen is confident a win is not far away after a last-gasp Cody McDonald strike earned his side a thrilling point against Swindon in a 2-2 County Ground draw.

Allen, whose Gills are still awaiting a victory in League One, saw his side twice come from behind to deny Mark Cooper his first win as permanent Robins boss.

Nathan Byrne's bundled opener after 12th minutes was cancelled out by Danny Kedwell moments later, who powered a header into the net from a Chris Whelpdale cross.

The impressive Nathan Thompson thought he had won it for the hosts in the 68th minute, only to see McDonald slot past Wes Foderingham in the dying seconds.

Allen said: "It is a good day for our club, but we need to keep practising in order to get that first win of the season, keep training, keep believing, keep cool, keep calm and keep on doing what we did all of last year.

"It was a good point, a good team performance - everyone put a real shift in. For the last two weeks all the players have worked extremely hard, mentally and physical, after the big setback we had.

"You have to give so much credit to the players, they have been focused and today was a good result for our supporters, who never stopped singing from the beginning to the end.

"It has been a step up in the quality of play this year, the clubs and teams we're playing against makes that quite obvious, but overall we defended very strongly and very resolutely as a team."

Cooper handed a start to new signing Nile Ranger and was impressed with the former Newcastle player.

He said: "Nile had to stay on and defend a lot of set pieces, but I thought his performance was first class for a player who's not played a lot since February. He occupies defenders and gives our midfield boys room to play in.

"I said before that we can play some really good football but there's more to it than that, you have to do both parts of the game and that's something we've had to learn quickly.

"When you're winning that late in the game you have to see it out, we certainly got a response today, some of the approach play and the goals were really good, but our play deserved more than one point. "We're not the finished article and we've got loads to work with and I think we'll only get better."

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