Justin Edinburgh makes it two wins from two games as Gills boss following a 4-2 win over MK Dons at MEMS Priestfield StadiumJustin Edinburgh marked his first home game as Gillingham Manager with a magnificent 4-2 win over high flying MK Dons on Saturday afternoon.
Cody McDonald, Bradley Dack, Bradley Garmston and John Marquis all got on the score sheet as Gillingham recorded a hat-trick of wins against sides fighting for the playoffs.
Edinburgh named an unchanged line-up to the team that beat Peterborough on Tuesday night. Garmston kept his place at left back while Danny Galbraith retained his position in midfield.
Luke Norris, Brennan Dickenson and Jermaine McGlashan provided options from the bench.
The first opportunity of the game fell to Carl Baker who tried his luck direct from a free kick 25 yards from goal. Stuart Nelson didn’t move but looked more than comfortable as the ball whistled past his left hand post.
However it was a set piece at the other end which delivered the first goal of the game – Loft and Dack stood over a free kick 25 yards out, the skipper ran over the ball before Dack laid off a short pass to Gills number 10, and he struck the inside of the post before the ball crossed the line.
The shot was inch perfect and gave Edinburgh the perfect start to his first game in charge at Priestfield.
The hosts then commanded proceedings until the quarter hour mark, a corner by Hessenthaler was headed over by John Egan before Stuart Nelson made a truly magnificent save to deny Samir Carruthers inside the box when the MK Dons fans were anticipating an almost certain goal.
He was alert soon after to collect a cross from wide on the left wing and Gills seemed to be comfortable with and without the ball as they held onto their one goal advantage.
However on 36 minutes MK Dons found a way back into the game courtesy of a great strike from Devante Cole.
There was a bit of a scramble inside the penalty area, the hosts were unable to clear and the ball wriggled into the path of the striker who found the bottom corner with an excellent left footed strike.
With the visiting faithful still celebrating the Gills immediately went on the attack and regained the lead. A short pass was played into the path of the advancing Dack; he took a touch and set the ball up nicely before converting beyond Ian McLoughlin.
The visitors very nearly created an opening within two minutes of the re-start. A cross by Jordan Spence was delivered for Dele Alli at the far post, the ball bounced awkwardly in front of the retreating Gavin Hoyte but Nelson commanded his box well and ensured the winger didn’t get a shot away.
At the other McLoughlin was slightly fortunate to divert a shot clear of the goal. Dack picked out McDonald to the right hand side of the area, his powerful effort struck the upper arm of the keeper before hitting the post.
MK Dons began to progressively assert some pressure – an effort by Baker was just wide of the far post before Ben Reeves, on for Carruthers, had his shot deflected over for a corner.
Karl Robinson’s side did eventually draw level via the spot on 68 minutes. Hoyte went in for a last ditch tackle on Baker, the midfielder went down and the referee didn’t hesitate in giving the penalty.
Reeves stepped up and waited for Nelson to make his move before sending his effort down the middle.
With the visitors seemingly having the momentum they went in search of a third, however this meant Gillingham looked increasingly threatening on the counter attack and Garmston scored his first professional goal 15 minutes from time.
He received the ball and knocked it past his marker before successfully keeping possession wide on the left. He cut inside and burst into the box prior to a low shot which seemed to take a slight deflection before nestling in the bottom corner.
The on loan left back reeled away in celebration, and there was still time to add a fourth.
Dack advanced forward in possession and the MK Dons defence retreated quickly, failing to cover the run of Marquis. Bradley played a perfectly weighted pass into the path of the striker who took his time before guiding the shot past McLoughlin.
The Gills defence stood firm in the closing stages to record a fantastic win which sees them enter the top half of the League One table.
Gills: Nelson, Hoyte, Egan, Ehmer, Garmston, Hessenthaler, Loft, Galbraith (McGlashan 64), Dack, Marquis (Norris 89), McDonald.
Unused subs: G Morris, Legge, Martin, Dickenson, German
MK Dons: McLoughlin, Lewington, Kay, Potter (Hitchcock 85), Spence, Baker, Alli, Powell, Carruthers (Reeves 56), Andrews, Cole (Grigg 71).
Unused subs: Hodson, Green, Clarke-Harris, Burns.
Referee: Mr K Stroud
Attendance: 5107 (321 MK Dons)