FA Cup: Wilkin's delight after Saints see off Gills
James Armson completed a fairytale hat-trick as Saints saw off the League One outfit 4-3 after extra-time at St James Park.
Just as they did in the original tie, Saints raced into a two-goal first half lead, courtesy of Armson’s brace. Jake Hessenthaler reduced the arrears before the break and after the restart substitute Scott Wagstaff equalised.
That’s how it stayed until extra-time when Shane Byrne’s corner was helped into his own net by keeper Stuart Nelson before Armson completed his hat-trick in the first period. Cody McDonald reduced the arrears but there was no way back for Gillingham.
The Saints boss said: “It’s a great night for the club and everybody concerned with it.
“We fully deserved the victory, we dug in and saw it through. If we hadn’t, we would have only had ourselves to blame.
“The players are tremendously fit and stood up to everything Gillingham threw at them.
“We had a period in the second half when we had Gillingham under the cosh. We had a lot of chances and should have put the game to bed but we didn’t and they equalised.
“But the players showed a lot of courage and resilience to bounce back from that. There is a lot of character in that dressing room and they’ve shown that again tonight.
“We concentrated on set-pieces and we’ve got players who can put the ball into dangerous areas so we knew we would ask questions of them.”
Wilkin had special praise for hat-trick hero Armson, who has now scored four goals over the two ties.
Wilkin said: “James Armson has had a fantastic night, he scored a great goal at Gillingham and got three tonight. He’s scored two great goals over the two ties.
“That was something we were missing earlier in the season. He’s a great player and we’re delighted to have him.”
As for the hat-trick hero, Armson added: “We came into the game full of confidence and thought we could get something from it.
“I know I will get the headlines for my hat-trick but all the players have been fantastic. We deserved to win it, they’re a League One side, but we showed great resilience.
“I should have got my hat-trick in normal time and my third goal wasn’t as good as the one at Gillingham!”