FLEETWOOD TOWN 2-1 GILLINGHAM
Luke Norris's fifth of the season was not enough as Gillingham slipped to a third-consecutive 2-1 league defeat, this time away at Fleetwood Town at Highbury Stadium on Tuesday night.
Aided by a strong wind in their favour, Town scored twice in the game's opening nine minutes through Wes Burns and former Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi
Norris pulled the Gills back into contention with a well-taken finish on 36 minutes, but it proved to be a consolation goal.
The Gills' starting XI contained three changes from Saturday's defeat to Chesterfield, with Norris, Brennan Dickenson, and George Williams, who replaced Emmanuel Osadebe, Bradley Dack and Dominic Samuel.
There was a formation change, too, with manager Justin Edinburgh opting for a more traditional 4-4-2, with Rory Donnelly on the right wing and Williams upfront with Norris.
However, even the best made plans couldn't cope with the turn in the weather before kick-off, most notably a strong wind, which gave Town an sizeable advantage in the opening minutes.
Just three minutes in, BURNS's whipped corner travelled through the Gills' defence with the help of the conditions, and into the net via a slight Dickenson touch for the opener.
And goalscorer turned provider for their second on nine minutes: he picked up a clearance that travelled much further down the pitch than it normally would have, but his pinpoint cross and well-executed finish from AMEOBI ended the move in style.
So blustery were the conditions in the opening exchanges that one Stuart Nelson clearance from six yards merely looped into the air and landed barely 20 yards from the goal.
But as the conditions settled, the Gills gained a foothold in the game. Dickenson's deep cross wasn't far off from reaching Aaron Morris at the back post, and Williams's low shot on 17 minutes was blocked and gave goalkeeper Chris Maxwell an easy save.
And four minutes after another Williams effort from distance was deflected wide, the visitors pulled a goal back. Defender Joe Davis cheaply gave the ball to NORRIS 20 yards from goal, and the Gills striker neatly finished.
The scores could have been level at the break, as first Norris's low shot following good play by Dickenson and Williams on the left wing was parried by Maxwell, and then stand-in captain Josh Wright shot just wide.
Williams had the second half's first chance, shooting just over from a free-kick on the edge of the box on 48 minutes.
But the hosts enjoyed their best period of the half shortly after, as Nelson did brilliantly to deny Ashley Hunter when he was through on goal, and Ehmer then denied the same player from getting his shot away from close range.
Home fans felt their man should have had a penalty when he collied with the same Gills defender on 70 minutes, but referee Jeremy Simpson waved away their protests.
The Gills's last chance of note came on 74 minutes, when Dickenson's deep cross was almost met by substitute Elliott List, who couldn't quite get any contact on the ball despite his efforts.
Town substitute Devante Cole almost went through on goal in the final minute of normal time, but a brilliant challenge by loanee Adam El-Abd prevented him from sealing the hosts' victory.
The Gills travel to Scunthorpe United next Saturday (March 5) before a home fixture at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium against Crewe Alexandra seven days later.
Fleetwood Town: Maxwell, Nirennold, Nilsson, Davis, Bell, Ryan, Jonsson, Sarcevic (Hunter 45), Ball (Grant 67), Ameobi, Burns (Cole 71).
Unused substitutes: Gogic, Haughton, Sowerby, Harris
Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson, Ehmer, El-Abd, Chicksen (Garmston 78), Donnelly (List 66), Wright, A Morris, Dickenson, Williams, Norris (Samuel 62)
Unused substitutes: G Morris, Hessenthaler, McGlashan, Osadebe
Attendance: 2, 133 (107 away)
Referee: Mr J Simpson