Gills move up to ninth in League One win a 1-0 win over Rochdale at Priestfield

Bradley Dack scored his 10th goal of the season as Gillingham beat nine-man Rochdale this afternoon to secure another season of League One football at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.

Dack struck on 14 minutes with a powerful header, which all-but ended the visitors' play off hopes.

Manager Justin Edinburgh made one change from Tuesday's draw at Preston North End, bringing in Brennan Dickenson for Amari'i Bell for his first league start since January 3rd.

Dickenson was involved in the piece of play that led to the Gills taking the led on 14 minutes. Neat interplay between him and John Marquis resulted in Cody McDonald being played through, but the top scorer was thwarted by a last-ditch challenge from Reuben Noble-Lazarus.

After Dale failed to clear, Aaron Morris's volley was deflected wide and from Doug Loft's resulting corner, Dack beat his man at the near post to head into the net.

Jermaine McGlashan almost played Dack through on goal four minutes later following a surging run from a Rochdale corner, before Noble-Lazarus volleyed his side's first chance well wide from 20 yards shortly after.

The Dale midfielder came significantly closer on 25 minutes when his side broke quickly. However, his shot was blocked inadvertently at the far post by his team-mate Peter Vincenti.

McDonald had the Gills' best chance to double their advantage before half time, heading over from a McGlashan cross on 39 minutes.

Rochdale couldn't have come closer to an equaliser sixty seconds later, when top scorer Ian Henderson chipped an effort from an acute angle over Glenn Morris. However, the shot rebounded back off the inside of the post, and team-mate Jamie Allen was unable to convert the follow-up.

H/T: 1-0

Allen headed wide for the visitors in the opening two minutes of the second half, which started at a considerably slower tempo to the first.

McDonald came close to adding a second for the Gills on 56 minutes, but also headed past the post after meeting McGlashan's deep cross at the back post.

Marquis was even closer 180 seconds later, as his cross from Brennan Dickenson's lofted cross was cleared off the line by Dale defender Ashley Eastham.

Dale's afternoon got worse from here. McDonald was through on goal in the 63rd minute when on-loan goalkeeper Jamie Jones cynically fouled him outside the area, and referee Andy D'Urso showed him the red card after consulting with his assistant.

And they were down to nine-men on 70 minutes, when Matty Lund also received a straight red, this time for a tackle on Dack.

It didn't take long before substitute goalkeeper Josh Lillis was in the action, most notably saving John Egan's half volley from 25 yards.

Dale's search for an equaliser led to half chances through Joe Rafferty and substitute Michael Rose, but they never truly tested Morris in the Gills goal.

F/T: 1-0

Gillingham: G Morris, Egan, Legge, Ehmer, McGlashan (Bell 89), Dack, A Morris, Loft (Pritchard 80), Dickenson, Marquis, McDonald (Norris 73).
Unused subs: Nelson, Hoyte, Muldoon, Hessenthaler.

Rochdale: Jones, Rafferty, Eastham, Kennedy, Cannon, Lund, Allen, Noble-Lazarus (Rose 62), Vincenti (Lillis 63), Henderson, Andrew (Logan 61).
Unused subs: Bennett, Lancashire, Camps, Bunney.

Attendance: 5, 430 (163 Rochdale)

Referee: Mr A D'Urso