The Gills return to the top of Sky Bet League One after an impressive 3-1 victory against Bury
Dominic Samuel scored on his debut as the Gills came from behind to beat Bury 3-1 at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
After Leon Clarke gave the visitors an early lead, Samuel and John Egan scored within 240 seconds of each other to turn the game on its head within the opening 10 minutes.
Emmanuel Osadebe completed the scoring, adding a fine solo goal three minutes from time to fire the Gills back to the top of Sky Bet League One.
Stuart Nelson made his 150th start for the Gills, while Jake Hessenthaler, Osadebe and Samuel replaced Deji Oshilaja, Doug Loft and Cody McDonald from Tuesday’s starting XI against Yeovil Town.
But as per the midweek game, the Gills fell behind early on – in the fourth minute, to be precise. The Shakers broke with numbers, and from Danny Mayor’s cross, Clarke headed in off the bar to opening the scoring.
However, the visitors led for less than two minutes. A drilled Bradley Dack free-kick from distance rebounded to Hessenthaler, his shot was parried by Bury’s debutant goalkeeper Jack Ruddy, and Samuel was able to coolly slot home.
And 10 minutes in, the Gills completed a quick-fire turnaround. From Bradley Garmston’s free-kick into the box, Egan latched onto Harry Lennon’s knock on and finished through Ruddy’s legs.
Chris Hussey’s curled free-kick went wide for the visitors on 21 minutes, as the game quietened down after its frantic start.
Osadebe almost made it three for the Gills with 28 minutes gone at the end of a free-flowing move involving Samuel, Bradley Dack and Ryan Jackson. His effort was deflected wide.
Donnelly dragged a shot just wide of the goal in the 33rd minute, and with Bury’s defence expecting the ball to go out of play, Jackson kept it in and crossed to Samuel, whose shot was off target.
After Jackson brilliantly broke up play, Donnelly shot straight at Ruddy on 37 minutes, and Dack’s 25-yard free kick a minute before the break sailed over the bar.
A neat move involving Jackson, Osadebe, Samuel and Dack resulted in Josh Wright shooting into Ruddy’s hands in the first minute of the second half. More quick interplay led to Osadebe firing over from the edge of the box 120 seconds later.
Samuel had a low shot deflect wide for a corner on 57 minutes and Osadebe headed wide from a Dack free-kick that hung in the air thanks to an increasingly swirling wind, as the Gills started the second half strongly.
However, the visitors came with inches from an equaliser in the 64th minute, as Lennon cleared substitute Danny Pugh’s header off the line.
Samuel then tested the nervy-looking Ruddy with a 25-yard half volley, a shot that the goalkeeper collected at the second attempt as the game entered its final 20 minutes.
And with the clock ticking away, Osadebe completed the scoring for the Gills. He ran over half the length of the pitch, played a inadvertent one-two with a Bury defender before finishing from an acute angle.
Osadebe’s day didn’t end there, though: in the final minute, as he cleared goalbound Tom Pope header off the line.
The Gills travel to second placed Coventry City next Saturday, before returning to the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on November 24th to face Rochdale.
Gillingham: N Nelson, Jackson, Egan (Oshilaja 90), Lennon, Garmston, Hessenthaler, Wright (A Morris 85), Hessenthaler, Dack, Osadebe, Donnelly, Samuel (McDonald 85)
Unused subs: G Morris, Dickenson, Loft, McGlashan
Bury: Ruddy, Riley, Cameron, P Clarke, Hussey, Mellis (Brown 79), Soares, Pugh (Rose 60), Mayor, Clarke, Pope
Unused subs: Sedgwick, Burgess
Attendance: 6,063 (212 Bury)
Referee: Mr K Stroud