Two first half goals from Chris Whelpdale and Danny Kedwell were enough to clinch Peter Taylor’s first win as Interim Manager following a 2-1 win over Notts County at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Tuesday night.
The duo struck within five minutes of each other to give the hosts the advantage, and although Callum McGregor set up a tense conclusion after scoring ten minutes from time, the Gills held out to record their third win of the season.
Peter Taylor made just one change to the side that lost 2-1 to Preston with Myles Weston replacing Cody McDonald to aid a three man attack, with he and Chris Whelpdale supporting Danny Kedwell up front.
Leon Legge remained Adam Barrett’s partner in the centre of defence with Charlie Lee and Danny Hollands in midfield.
The opening minutes were fairly quiet with both sides easing their way in to the game, but it soon became a lively encounter with chances at either end.
The first opportunity of the game fell to Lee on the edge of the box when he picked the ball up 25 yards from goal, took a touch and tried to find the bottom corner.
Bartosz Bilakowski however was down quickly to his right hand side and did well to catch the ball with Kedwell eager to follow up.
On 24 minutes the deadlock was broken when a throw by Stuart Nelson seemingly missed its target in Myles Weston, but a slip in defence allowed the winger to get there first and deliver a cross to the back post.
The ball ran long but Whelpdale retrieved, burst inside the box and unleashed a right foot shot too accurate for Bialkowski as it went low to his right and in to the corner.
The midfielder was involved for the second goal just five minutes later when a long ball was flicked on by the Gills number seven, and Kedwell was on hand to get behind the defence and launched a powerful effort which gave the keeper no chance.
The hosts immediately went out in search of a third, but the visitors refused to give in and Campbell-Ryce nearly got one back before the interval when his right foot shot from just outside the box struck the crossbar and out for a goal kick.
His presence in midfield certainly gave Michael Harriman something to think about on the left hand side, but the full back stood up to the challenge well and restricted the Magpies to very little as the half came to a close.
The Gills came out of the blocks fighting straight after the break and immediately went in search of a third goal to kill the game off.
Leon Legge striking wide from a Weston corner before an attempt by Harriman was blocked inside the area.
Barrett fancied a piece of the action and got in to the danger zone on 62 minutes, his shot blocked by McGregor before Whelpdale had another effort thwarted by the Magpies stopper.
On 70 minutes the hosts should have put the game to bed after a fantastic team move. The ball worked its way to Kedwell on the edge of the area, he fended off a couple of challenges before laying the ball off to Whelpdale.
He struck it well but again Bialkowski was equal to it and kept his team in the game.
Chris Kiwomya’s men should have got back in it four minutes later when Andre Boucaud’s free kick found Manny Smith in a yard of space.
His header was on target, and if it had been either side of Stuart Nelson he would have been celebrating a goal, however fortunately for the Gills number one the effort was straight at him and he caught it comfortably.
Greg Tempest went close shortly afterwards before County did eventually pull one back. A counter attack saw McGregor with some space 25 yards from goal, and he struck a sweet effort to Nelson’s left hand side which gave him absolutely no chance.
This gave the visitors the impetus to go on and get the equalizer, and despite a couple of half chances, the Gills defence stood firm.
Lee took a knock but was determined to see the game out, and the Rainham End erupted in a volume of noise as they applauded the players off the pitch following a committed display.
Gills: Nelson, Harriman, Legge, Barrett, Martin, Gregory (Linganzi 60), Hollands, Lee, Whelpdale, Weston, Kedwell
Unused subs: Howard, Davies, Dack, Akinfenwa, McDonald, German
Notts County:Bialkowski, Dumbuya, Sheehan, Liddle, Smith, McGregor, Arquin (Haynes 67), Campbell-Ryce (Bell 66), Fotheringham (Haber 73), Tempest, Boucaud
Unused subs: Coombes, Thompson, Spiess, Hollis
Bookings: Smith (72), Hollands (90)
Goals: Whelpdale (25), Kedwell (29), McGregor (79)
Referee: Mr D Phillips
Attendance: 5,161 (169 Notts County)