Gills secure seventh successive home winBradley Dack struck his sixth goal of the season to help guide Gillingham to a 2-1 win over Blackpool at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Gills midfielder latched onto a low cross from substitute Rory Donnelly and comfortably slotted the ball home to seal the club’s seventh successive home win.
Doug Loft had put the Gills ahead following an excellent free kick from Luke Norris before Ryan Jackson was desperately unlucky to put the ball in his own net after some good work from Mark Cullen.
Justin Edinburgh made three changes to the side that beat Doncaster last week with John Egan, Brennan Dickenson and Jake Hessenthaler included in the starting XI.
Deji Oshilaja missed out due to injury with Emmanuel Osadebe returning to the bench and Bradley Garmston not named in the squad.
Blackpool started the game on the front foot and forced an early save from Stuart Nelson when Jose Cubero cut in on the right wing and tried to place an effort in the top corner, however the keeper palmed the ball over for a corner which the Gills back four eventually cleared.
However their pressure was short lived as the hosts responded well, pressing Blackpool back into their own box – a Loft effort deflected wide for a corner before Max Ehmer and Dack both saw headers go close.
However on 17 minutes Gills deservedly went ahead, Norris struck one of his now customary free kicks which dipped right in front of Colin Doyle – the keeper could only palm the effort out and Loft was in the right place to tuck away the rebound.
Blackpool should have equalised a few minutes later, a cross from Jim McAlister on the left wing found Brad Potts in space inside the box but with the goal seemingly at his mercy he misjudged his leap and as a result send the header well wide of the target.
Norris was next to go close, a short pass from Dack inside the box gave him a sight at goal from a difficult angle.
The shot beat Doyle but was sent just beyond the far post before Potts had another opportunity at the other end, his shot also missing the target.
Norris came even closer just before half time; his brilliantly struck free kick from 25 yards hit the top of the bar before going behind.
With Gillingham seemingly in control the visitors stunned Priestfield with a fortuitous equaliser. Cullen managed to work his way around Ehmer inside the area, he played a rather hopeful low ball into the danger zone which hit Jackson on the shin and rolled over the line.
This created a hint of nervousness amongst the fans and home players for a few minutes, a close range free kick taken by David Ferguson was well blocked before a Lloyd Jones effort was kept out by Nelson.
Skipper Loft was replaced by Osadebe on 67 minutes with Ben Williamson coming on for McDonald shortly after, and progressively Blackpool began to retreat as Gills went in search of a second goal.
And after a period of intense pressure Gillingham finally did re-take the lead. Donnelly had only just come on but surged down the right hand side and delivered a teasing cross into the area, the ball made its way to Dack who calmly positioned himself and drove the ball home to send Priestfield into uproar.
Blackpool threw bodies forward in hope of an equaliser, Egan putting in a terrific block to prevent Nelson being worked and after that the defence were rarely threatened as Gills kept possession in the final third to see out the remainder of the game.
Gills: Nelson, Jackson, Egan, Ehmer, Dickenson, Wright, Hessenthaler, Loft (Osadebe 67), Dack, Norris (Donnelly 81), McDonald (Williamson 73).
Unused subs: G Morris, Houghton, A Morris, McGlashan
Blackpool: Doyle, Ferguson, McAlister, Jones, Potts, Cullen (Thomas 68), Cameron (Osayi-Samuel 79), Herron (Norris 61), Aldred, Boyce, Cubero.
Unused subs: Letheren, Robertson, Redshaw, Oliver
Referee: Mr G Sutton
Attendance: 6231 (221 Blackpool)