The Gills suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday, losing 5-0 away to Scunthorpe United on a rainy afternoon at Glanford Park.
Kevin van Veen, Josh Morris (two), Jordan Clarke and Tom Hopper scored for the hosts, and the result means that the Justin Edinburgh’s side slip down to tenth in the Sky Bet League One table.
Rory Donnelly started in place of Cody McDonald after his second-half equaliser at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Tuesday evening. Josh Pask moved to right-back with Ryan Jackson out injured, and Deji Oshilaja returned to the starting XI after being on the bench midweek.
United took an early lead on five minutes. Van Veen picked up the ball by the centre-circle, drove a few yards before unleashing a speculative effort that caught Stuart Nelson out and ended up in the net.
The Iron nearly doubled their lead on 12 minutes. Duane Holmes bombed down the right-wing before finding Morris on the edge of the box. The left-midfielder took a touch before shooting, but his effort crashed against the advertising boards behind the goal.
Scunthorpe remained on top for the majority of the half, and hit the bar just a minute after Morris’ effort. Van Veen’s bending free-kick was met by the head of Holmes, but Nelson was in the right position to tip the ball on to the bar and out for a corner.
The only shot the Gills had in the opening stages came on 15 minutes from Josh Wright. The captain struck from 25-yards but Luke Daniels held on well to deny the midfielder on his return to his former club.
Matters got worse with just 20 minutes played. Wright fouled Morris in the box and referee David Webb pointed to the penalty spot. The felled player stepped up to take the spot-kick, and converted into the top-left corner to make it 2-0.
Oshilaja had a half-chance from a Mark Byrne corner on 23 minutes, but the defender couldn’t hit the target to get off the mark for the season. It was the closest the Gills had been to scoring in the opening quarter.
As the half wore on the intensity died down, and most of the possession was being played in the middle of the park.
On 37 minutes Oshilaja rushed forward and played the ball to Byrne, before receiving it back off the midfielder in the penalty box. The Cardiff City loanee managed to get a powerful shot away, however Daniels was equal to the effort and parried the ball for a corner.
Clarke was next to get on the scoresheet for the home side on the stroke of half-time. The defender headed home, unmarked, from a Morris corner two minutes into stoppage time.
The second-half began slowly and the wind was now going against the Gills, meaning that goal-kicks and clearances were struggling to make it over the halfway line.
The Gills defence were in trouble on 53 minutes, as Oshilaja played the ball straight to van Veen for a two-on-two situation. The Gills number six recovered, however, and stopped any danger by clearing the ball up the field.
Emmanuel-Thomas took a snapshot from inside the area on 53 minutes, which caught out the Scunthorpe defence, but his shot flew narrowly wide of the net.
With 60 minutes played, Scunthorpe made it 4-0. Morris’ bobbling shot from 20-yards slipped under Nelson’s fingers to to the delight of the home crowd behind the goal.
Clarke struck a shot from 35-yards on 62 minutes, which dipped in the air and was destined Nelson’s far corner, however the stopper got down low to his right to beat the ball away.
On 65 minutes Elliott List and Cody McDonald came on to replace Donnelly and Billy Knott with the Gills having no option but to try and attack.
List nearly made an immediate impact, sprinting down the right-wing and delivering a cross to Emmanuel-Thomas, but the striker’s header didn’t have enough to trouble Daniels.
Edinburgh brought on Darren Oldaker for his professional debut to replace Emmanuel Osadebe to add a fresh pair of legs, but the Gills couldn’t find enough going forward to pull anything back.
Hakeeb Adelakun was causing the Gills problems when he had the ball at his feet, and had an assist to his name with eight minutes remaining of normal time. The winger skipped past the Gills defence and got to the by-line, where he fired the ball back across goal, putting it on a plate for Hopper to score from one yard.
Emmanuel-Thomas had a stinging shot denied minutes later, but once again Daniels was equal to the effort.
In the dying seconds, Nelson denied Scott Laird from the penalty spot after List fouled Townsend in the area.
The Gills travel to Watford in Tuesday’s EFL Cup second round tie, before another Sky Bet League One away game against Shrewsbury Town on Saturday, August 27.
Scunthorpe: Daniels, Wallace, Mirfin, Dawson, van Veen, Morris (Laird, 83), Bishop, Hopper, Holmes (Adelakun, 32), Townsend, Clarke
Unused subs: Anyon, Wiseman, King, Goode, Wootton
Gillingham: Nelson, Pask, Oshilaja, Ehmer, Konchesky, Wright, Byrne, Knott (List, 65), Osadebe (Oldaker, 75), Donnelly (McDonald, 65), Emmanuel-Thomas
Unused subs: Hadler, Hessenthaler, Dack, Dickenson
Referee: David Webb