"We haven't put any quality balls into the final third," says Millington after Town draw a blank against Gateshead

Town manager Chris Millington bemoaned his side's lack of quality in the final third after their 0-0 home draw with Gateshead.
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The Shaymen struggled to create many clear chances, despite finishing the game with a man extra following Luke Hannant's dismissal.

When asked if he thought either team did enough to win the game, Millington told the Courier: "No they didn't. The Gateshead-Halifax games are a bit like that aren't they, four games we've played in just over 12 months, they haven't scored against us and we haven't scored many against them.

"It's disappointing but probably predictable."

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Chris MillingtonChris Millington
Chris Millington

On what his game-plan had been, Millington said: "Anybody who knows or watches Gateshead and looks at their stats knows they have an awful lot of possession, they do an awful lot of work in trying to beat the initial press, then if they do that with quality they're onto your back line very quickly and create a lot of chances.

"They score most of their goals first-half, they generally impose themselves on oppositions first-half and then as the game goes on they become more ragged, more open and teams grow into it and they concede the majority of their goals in the second-half.

"Not dissimilar to how we've beaten them last season, good solid block to press from, regain, which we did seven time in the first-half in areas high up the pitch.

"But what we lacked today was that quality when we did regain possession, we didn't do enough with it in the first-half when we regained and we turned over possession and gave it back to them too easily.

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"In the second-half we knew we were going to grow into it and gain more possession, the sending-off of course helped that.

"But again we looked sloppy in possession, we looked a bit uncertain, we looked a bit nervy and we lacked quality when passing into the final third.

"It's no secret but it's that final bit of the game we've got to nail and we've (then) got the potential to be a very strong team."

Millington also admitted his side didn't do enough to press home their man advantage after Hannant was sent-off.

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"No, not at all. I thought they were bold and credit to them because they left two up top, they went more direct, kept punting it long and challenging us," the Town boss said.

"We knew that whenever we lost it once they were down to ten men, it was going to go forward quickly and they were going to try and put us on the back foot.

"Credit to them for having a really positive approach to being down to ten men but our part in that is we didn't move the ball at all quickly enough until Luke Summerfield came on and there weren't enough of us with the quality today to pass into the final third.

"I know the jungle drums will be beating for more strikers but the reality is we haven't put any quality balls into the final third, let alone the box, for strikers to really be judged.

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"So until we do that there's no point in talking about strikers."

When asked why there was a lack of quality, Millington said: "I don't know what was wrong today, I've got to be honest.

"It's something we know we've got to get better at, the stats from the early games tell us that, we're already aware that for passes into the final third we're quite low in the league table.

"But today we were poor at it, so we'll look at it and it's certainly an area of work for us because there's so much that the lads are doing so well out of possession and when we're building from the back, we're working through the first two thirds of the pitch quite well, but there's just not enough going on in the final third to really go and put teams to the sword."

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Aaron Cosgrave was handed his first Town start in place of Rob Harker.

"He worked very hard, he created a couple of moments for us that we should have exploited more," Millington said on the striker.

"It was important for him to come in in a game like today when he was going to be stretched out of possession and when we regained it.

"There was an awful lot for him to learn and take forward from the day.

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"Ten out of ten for application. He's got areas to improve in terms of quality in the final third, like a lot of us."

On Hannant's red card, after two bookings, Millington said: "The lad's had three petulant moments in the game, he got away with one and he didn't give the referee any choice."

The Town boss was also booked himself in the second-half.

"It came when Adam Senior had made a really good, strong challenge and two of their staff were going at the fourth official," Millington said.

"Both ranting at him, so I wanted to make the point and did make the point that Adam had won the ball, but because I'd stepped out of my technical area to do that the fourth official called the referee over and I got a yellow card for it."

Read more from the Town boss on the Courier website later this week.

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