Gills manager hails impressive Hoolahan

PUBLISHED: 10:00 28 September 2009 | UPDATED: 16:33 10 September 2010

Norwich City’s Wes Hoolahan was a thorn in Gillingham’s side all day long as he helped pull the strings for the visitors.

Norwich City's Wes Hoolahan was a thorn in Gillingham's side all day long as he helped pull the strings for the visitors.

Gillingham boss Mark Stimson lamented the two points that got away in stoppage time - but believes the Canaries will be among the League One promotion challengers before long.

Gillingham boss Mark Stimson lamented the two points that got away in stoppage time - but believes the Canaries will be among the League One promotion challengers before long.

Darel Russell's late, late equaliser stopped the Gills chalking up their fourth win in five home games after Simeon Jackson's controversial penalty gave the hosts an interval lead.

"Today was two points lost at the end because I thought we had it, but these are big teams we're playing now and you can see the quality in some of the players they've got," said Stimson.

"The little man Hoolahan I thought was absolutely outstanding today. His work rate, his passing, his movement - you can see why he's played at a higher level for a period of time and they will be up there, they will certainly be up there.

"I don't think they had their full-strength team today, but with that following and the players they've got I'm sure they'll be competing at the top end of the league come the end of the season."

He added: "I thought for the first 20 minutes we couldn't get near a very good Norwich side.

"They set up a system which really got the ball moving around and we found it difficult. After that we sort of got to grips with it and then obviously taking the lead from another Simeon Jackson penalty was good and then we go in at half-time and just stress to the players 'Don't think about the 10 men - you have just got to go out there and work even harder and we will get opportunities if we keep switching the play, keep passing the ball' and we needed one more to really finish the game off.

"Unfortunately we didn't do that, but we had some good opportunities and they fell to a prolific striker who on the day in front of goal didn't have his best of times - but he kept getting in there and that's what he's got to do.

"Then, right at the end when you think time's up, the ball looks like it's going out of play, it hits the crossbar and full credit to the Norwich players, they've gone in there, put their head in and they've got an equaliser."

Stimson was non-committal over the penalty award, with City goalkeeper Fraser Forster sent off after he was adjudged to have brought down Curtis Weston.

"From where we are sitting it is one of those 50-50 ones. The referee has given the decision so we have to get on with it," said Stimson.

"Curtis said he felt he was touched so he's gone over. Full credit to Jackson for stepping up and slotting away the penalty nicely."

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