A Dominic Samuel double and Bradley Dack earn the Gills an important victory against 10-man Millwall.
Gillingham moved up to second in Sky Bet League One after two Dominic Samuel goals and a Bradley Dack penalty earned them a 3-0 victory away at local rivals Millwall.
Dominic headed in on 20 minutes before Dack kept his nerve to convert from the penalty spot following a challenge on Cody McDonald that saw Millwall goalkeeper Jordan Archer sent off.
The hosts squandered a handful of opportunities in the second half, after which Samuel took advantage of lapse Millwall defending to seal the win in the 89th minute - the Gills' first victory at The Den since December 2003.
Facing one of his former clubs, Josh Wright replaced the suspended Doug Loft in the only change to the starting XI from last weekend's defeat against Burton Albion. Notably, however, striker Luke Norris was named among the substitutes for the first time since sustaining an ankle injury in the victory at Crewe at October 17th.
The opening 15 minutes of the game were largely played out in midfield, although referee Darren Handley angered the 1,607 vociferous travelling fans when he booked Samuel for simulation after the striker went through on goal and sought to round onrushing goalkeeper Archer.
However, the striker played a key role in the Gills' 20th-minute opener. He won a free-kick just outside the area, and from Dack's pinpoint delivery, guided his header into the bottom of the net.
Dack headed wide from a difficult angle seconds later, before the advantage swung even further in the Gills' favour on 25 minutes. Samuel played through McDonald, the striker got the better of defender Byron Webster and was clumsily taken down by Archer. This time Handley ruled in the away team's favour, sending off the goalkeeper and awarding a penalty.
David Forde was brought on in goal, but was well beaten by Dack's composed spot kick. Two-nil Gillingham, with 28 minutes played. Forde brilliantly denied Dack a third following an incisive Gills break on the half-hour mark, before midfielder George Saville shot over from 20 yards in Millwall's first attempt on goal.
Samuel came close to setting up McDonald for another great chance following a darting run into the box two minutes before the break, and the half ended in unsavoury scenes after Ryan Jackson was fouled by ex-Gill Joe Martin and Saville. Players from both sides clashed; Jackson and Martin were booked.
The perseverance of Millwall striker Steve Morison almost allowed him to pick-pocket Stuart Nelson in the box as the Gills goalkeeper went to clear his lines on 56 minutes, but thanks to some resolute defending from the away side, it was the best opportunity the hosts had in the opening exchanges of the second half.
Going forward the Gills continued to look dangerous: neat moves saw Samuel, Jake Hessenthaler and Aaron Morris threaten, even if the raised assistants' flag meant any goals wouldn't have counted.
Samuel shot straight at Forde from 10 yards on the hour after his initial effort kindly rebounded back to him, and in similar circumstances at the other end, Millwall top scorer Aiden O'Brien was denied by Nelson and had his second attempt cleared off the line by Jackson.
And Nelson made an even better save on 67 minutes: a contender for his best this season. The ball fell kindly to striker Lee Gregory, but his effort from six yards was brilliantly tipped wide. O'Brien also headed over following a teasing Carlos Edwards cross.
Forde was arguably lucky to stay on the pitch when he fouled Samuel as the pair chased the ball on the touchline five minutes from time (he was booked for the tackle), and from the resulting Dack free-kick, Deji Oshilaja squandered a good chance to seal the Gills' victory.
Fortunately it didn't matter, as the Gills' resilience was rewarded with a third goal. Samuel latched onto Webster's loose back pass, nutmegged Forde and slotted in from an acute angle. It was the striker's last notable involvement in the game, as he was replaced by Norris in stoppage time.
The Gills are on the road again on Boxing Day against Swindon Town, before returning to action at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on December 28th against Colchester United.
Millwall: Archer, Edwards, Webster, Beeers 7 (Onyedinma 82) Martin (Ferguson 45), O'Brien, Saville, Williams, Upson, Gregory, Morison
Unusued substitutes: Nelson, Thompson, Abdou, L Martin, Onyedinma
Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson (Osadebe 70), Egan, Oshilaja, Garmston, Hessenthaler, A Morris, Dack, Wright, McDonald (Donnelly 45), Samuel (Norris 90)
Unused substitutes: G Morris, Ehmer, McGlashan, Houghton
Attendance: 12, 032
Referee: Mr D Handley