Gills claim their first away league win of the season with a 2-1 victory against Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat StadiumLuke Norris bagged a second half brace to clinch the Gills first away league win of the season in a 2-1 victory at Doncaster and extend the club’s unbeaten run to six matches.
The striker registered the opener on 51 minutes when he slid in at the back post to convert Michael Doughty’s cross before unleashing a brilliant right footed effort on 77 minutes that flew past Sam Johnstone and into the bottom corner.
Rovers did get one back deep into stoppage time via the penalty spot, but Curtis Main’s effort was too late to deny Gillingham all three points.
Peter Taylor made just one alteration to the side that beat Leyton Orient 1-0 in the JPT last weekend – Joe Martin replacing Adam Chicksen at left back who was recalled by Brighton on Friday afternoon.
Stephen Bywater returned to the bench in place of Glenn Morris while new signing Danny Galbraith was also among the substitutes.
Both sides had early half chances with Martin’s header at the far post claimed by Johnstone before an effort by Paul Keegan was parried away by Stuart Nelson before claiming at the second attempt.
Main found himself with a one on one opportunity but Nelson was alert and narrowed the gap sufficiently to force the forward wide before the resulting corner kick was cleared.
An effort by Brennan Dickenson was launched over the bar before Norris was unlucky not to register the opening goal when his low effort from 20 yards went just wide of the right hand post.
James Coppinger thought he had scored moments later, Main with a brilliant cross from the left which evaded everyone apart from the midfielder whose powerful effort forced a diving save from the Gills number one.
Nelson made another stop, this time from Bennett on 19 minutes, and although the ball only went as far as Main he blasted his effort way wide of the target.
On 29 minutes a short corner wrong footed the Gills defence, Wellens worked his way inside the six yard area but his effort was well blocked by Nelson before a melee inside the box eventually saw a Gills body clear the danger.
Eight minutes later, following some good play by Doncaster, Bennett had a shot from 20 yards deflected which wrong footed Nelson but the keeper’s alarmingly quick reactions saw him keep the ball out with his feet.
Two minutes prior to the interval Robinson received the ball just outside the area, he shifted the ball to the left and fired an effort narrowly wide of the upright which proved to be the last action of the half.
Taylor changed the system at the break with a 4-2-3-1 system enforced. Loft and Dickenson were out wide with Dack playing just behind Norris.
Hessenthaler moved to a holding midfield role alongside Doughty with Egan heading to right back.
And it was the defender who had the first shot of the half just seconds after the re-start. He drove forward and 35 yards from goal decided to have a go and the effort went over the bar by a matter of inches.
However the visiting fans didn’t wait long for the opening goal – Doughty worked his way down the left wing and produced a decent cross, it missed everyone except for Norris at the far post who slid in to convert from a tight angle and give Gillingham the lead.
Donny reacted well with a header by Butler comfortably stopped by Nelson before a shot by Martin from 20 yards was driven just past the right hand post.
Just shy of the hour mark and Donny fans thought they had equalized. A through ball split the Gills defence and it was Coppinger who found himself one on one, but with the goal seemingly at his mercy he put the shot wide.
The hosts enjoyed more of the ball and as the clock ticked down they started creating better chances – first a header from Butler was put narrowly wide of the post before an effort from Bennett came back off Nelson with nobody able to take advantage of the follow up.
This miss proved costly as Norris bagged his second on 77 minutes. Gills launched a counter attack down the left wing, Hessenthaler found Norris in the centre. He had no other option but to shoot from 25 yards and he brilliantly found the bottom corner.
It was the striker’s third of the season and put Taylor’s men in a commanding position with a little over 10 minutes to play.
Rovers threw everything they had to try and get back in the game, Reece Wabara striking the bar following a corner kick and it took until the 94th minute for them to finally find a way through.
Theo Robinson was judged to have been brought down inside the box and the responsibility fell to Main to try and beat Nelson.
The keeper was booked prior to the kick being taken, and although he went the right way the power of the shot was too much.
Gills kicked off and forced the ball into the corner before the final whistle sounded to clinch the club’s first away league win of the season.
Doncaster: Johnstone, Robinson, Main, McCullough, Butler, Stevens, Keegan (Forrester 57), Wellens, Wabara, Bennett, Coppinger
Unused subs: Evina, Marosi, Wakefield, De Val, Whitehouse, McKay
Gills: Nelson, Egan, Legge, Ehmer, Hessenthaler, Martin, Doughty, Dack (Galbraith 80), Loft, Dickenson, Norris.
Unused subs: Bywater, Hoyte, Lennon, Pritchard, McGlashan, McDonald
Attendance: 5542 (312 Gills)
Referee: Mr G Salisbury