First half goals from Joe Martin and Bradley Dack make it back-to-back away wins for the GillsThe Gills served up a bonus Christmas feast this afternoon as they beat Colchester 2-1 at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
Joe Martin opened the scoring with a Boxing Day belter, before Bradley Dack helped Peter Taylor's side secure consecutive away wins for the first time since January 2013.
Taylor made four changes from Saturday's defeat to Chesterfield, among them a debut Charlton loanee Harry Lennon.
But it was his centre-back partners who were in the action early on. Colchester broke in the fifth minute with Gavin Massey, who got past John Egan and cut inside of Max Ehmer only to fire against the bar.
Despite having only won three league games – and lost six – at home prior to kick off this season, the hosts looked the better side for the first 20 minutes.
Massey's shot from 20 yards was well deflected by Michael Doughty seven minutes later, and from the resulting corner David Fox's well-executed volley travelled safely through to Stuart Nelson.
And just as the hosts' early pressure was fading away, Martin fired the Gills in front on 25 minutes. Doughty found Cody McDonald out wide, and after his cross was only partially cleared, the left-back brilliantly half-volleyed in for his second goal of the season.
Nine minutes later, the Gills went two up. Nelson's clearance found McDonald, and following another delivery on the right from the striker, Dack beat Sam Walker at his near post.
Nelson was in the action again on 38 minutes, as he brilliantly tipped over Massey's shot from 15 yards. George Moncur then volleyed well wide for the U's in the last action of note in the first half.
Amine Linganzi replaced Dack at half time, seemingly in a tactical change, but it was Colchester substitute Sammie Szmodics who had a quick impact on the game.
The midfielder pulled a goal back for the hosts in the 51st minute, when he diverted ex-Gill Sean Clohessy's cross over the line.
United thought they had equalised on the hour mark in near-identical circumstances, as Freddie Sears knocked in a delivery from another ex-Gill Elliott Hewitt, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Massey's swerving shot was pushed away by Nelson barely a minute later, as the hosts continued their search for an equaliser.
The Gills had a goal of their own disallowed on 66, when McDonald volleyed home after being adjudged to have fouled Tom Eastman, but still the U's came forward.
Massey's powerful effort from 25 yards travelled just wide of the goal, and only a Sears air-kick prevented a potentially brilliant leveller.
Sears's 89th-minute shot was somehow kept out by Nelson, before the striker's stoppage time header was again ruled out for offside.
The Gills entertain league leaders Bristol City next at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Sunday, as Taylor's side for their third league win from four.
Gills: Nelson, A Morris (Dickenson 75), Egan, Ehmer, Lennon, Martin, Pritchard, Doughty, Dack (Linganzi 46), Norris (Kedwell 67), McDonald.
Unused subs: G Morris, Legge, Hessenthaler, McGlashan.
Colchester United: Walker, Clohessy (Watt 87), Eastman, Gorkss, Gordon, Eastmond (Szmodics 46), Fox, Moncur, Hewitt (Healey 82), Sears, Massey.
Unused subs: Lewington, Kpekawa, Lapslie, Bonne.
Attendance: 4,544 (680 Gillingham)
Referee: Mr T Kettle