Gillingham boss Steve Evans says Alex Jakubiak was unlucky to be on the bench against Portsmouth but showed exactly what he could do in earning his team a 1-1 draw.
The striker came on for Mikael Mandron with 20 minutes remaining at Priestfield, making an impact 10 minutes later with an equaliser to restore parity after Gareth Evans’ first-half strike for Pompey.
And Evans, whose side now sit three points adrift of the Sky Bet League One play-off places, admits Jakubiak’s late goalscoring exploits could leave him with further selection dilemmas in the future.
“He came on and made an impact,” Evans said.
“He was very unfortunate not to be coming into the XI today but he – and Mark Marshall – made a difference when they came on.
“I said to them before the game today that they should come on the pitch and show me what they can do, and there’s a spring in their step now.
“It was important not to lose today – I thought we’d win today looking at how we’ve been training and the way they’ve recovered from recent games, and the boys were fresh and they were still running after 90 minutes.
“We’ve got real resilience in a small squad of 18, 19 players, and that’s a credit to the players.
“Our boys have given everything today, we’re three points off the play-offs turning into the New Year and we break off for an exciting cup tie [against West Ham] on Sunday.”
Kenny Jackett’s Portsmouth now lie just one point off the play-off places, but the draw follows a disappointing defeat at MK Dons on Sunday.
The Pompey manager raised some eyebrows with his team selection by opting for Alex Bass in goal over Craig MacGillivray but defended his decision and is relishing the fact he has two adept goalkeepers to choose from.
“I thought it was the right thing looking at some of the goals [we’ve conceded] away from home,” Jackett said.
“We’ve got two really good goalkeepers – Alex is a good young keeper and we always want young players coming through, but it doesn’t do anybody any harm to miss a game or two and Craig will draw breath and come again.
“One point out of the six against MK Dons and Gillingham is very much how our season has been – we had a lot of the game at MK and today we’re in a winning position.
“Our home and away results may look a bit like Jekyll and Hyde but our heart, commitment and attitude were all there today.
“We need to get over the line in these situations if we can. Whoever was coming here today was in for a hard game, and we think there were three points there for us today.”