The Gills beaten by two second half goals at The Hive
The Gills lost their first pre-season friendly of the summer, going down 2-0 to Barnet at The Hive on Saturday.
Following a tight, but end-to-end opening half, goals from John Akinde and Alex Nicholls earned the hosts - managed by former Gills boss Martin Allen - the victory.
The result arguably flattered the League Two side, given goalkeeper Stuart Nelson barely had a save to make. However, that six of the starting XI got 90 minutes of game time into their legs, the fitness aspects outweigh any negatives from the match.
Manager Justin Edinburgh included new signing Paul Konchesky in the strong-looking Gills team, and the former West Ham and Liverpool man played his first hour for the club.
Rory Donnelly, Emmanuel Osadebe and Bradley Dack all threatened in the opening 25 minutes; Dack's shot halfway through the opening half followed patient build-up between Konchesky and Billy Knott.
Donnelly almost played McDonald through on goal seven minutes before the break, and Dack dragged an effort wide of Kai McKenzie-Lyle's post.
The hosts came close through Akinde's hopeful volley on 35 minutes, Luke Gambin almost diverted a shot past Nelson when seemingly in an offside position, and Osadebe brilliantly charged down the same player's powerful drive seconds later.
Osadebe made a brilliant last-ditch tackle to prevent Akinde going through on 48 minutes, as the hosts started the second half strongly.
But the Gills gained a hold of the game shortly after; Bira Dembele blocked Donnelly's shot that look goalbound, McDonald came close with a volley from Jackson's cross, and the Gills striker then smashed a free-kick into the wall.
The Bees went ahead on 54 minutes, as an unmarked AKINDE tapped in Taylor's cross, and they doubled their advantage when goalscorer turned provider. Akinde played in NICHOLLS, who coolly slotted home on 66 minutes.
Knott had a curling effort saved by McKenzie-Lyle, and substitute Joe Quigley's cross almost fell into Luke Norris's path at the back post, as the Gills searched in vain for a response.
Highlights of the match will be available on GillsPlayer on Monday. The Gills are back in action on Tuesday, as they take on Dartford at Princes Park in a 7.45pm kick-off.