Reading score twice in the second half to progress in this year's League Cup.
Gillingham were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Reading on Tuesday evening following a 2-0 defeat at the Madeski Stadium.
In a game which produced few chances for either side Liam Kelly made the most of his best opportunities, both of his goals powerful efforts from the edge of the box. In a spirited performance Gills gave everything they had but were eliminated from the tournament.
Ady Pennock made four changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Doncaster on Saturday. Gabriel Zakuani, Mark Byrne, Billy Bingham and Lee Martin all missed out with Darren Oldaker, Jake Hessenthaler, Josh Wright and Greg Cundle all coming in.
Cundle was making his first full start for the Gills having featured on a couple of occasions last season from the subs bench.
Liam Nash and Conor Wilkinson provided attacking options from the dugout if required.
Reading enjoyed the early possession but Gillingham settled quickly and created a half chance on 14 minutes. Eaves did well with his back to goal to find Cundle who did a similarly excellent job with the Reading defence refusing to allow any space.
The youngster fed Hessenthaler from 25 yards but his effort missed the target. The midfielder was involved in a huge penalty appeal for the visitors midway through the half; under pressure he picked out a great ball on the right hand side for the sprinting Scott Wagstaff. Inside the box he appeared to be tripped but the referee wasn’t convinced and allowed play to continue.
And just moments later Reading could have been ahead when Andy Rinomhtoa found a yard of space outside the box, he shifted his body weight and drilled a low shot narrowly wide of the left hand post with Tomas Holy at full stretch.
Tom Eaves had two half chances in quick succession with Oldaker posing a threat from dead ball situations; the first a difficult chance under pressure with a second cross just too high to connect sufficiently.
Sub Modou Barrow was off target within moments of coming on before a low cross from Josh Parker was well dealt with by Anssi Jaakkola.
On 55 minutes there were chances for either side in the space of 60 seconds. Firstly Oldaker sent a free-kick towards the back post, O’Neill headed it back towards the danger zone where Eaves was waiting. After a failed clearance the ball came back to the striker who forced an excellent save.
Suddenly Reading formed a counter attack with Kelly bursting through the centre, he had options to his right but chose to go himself and sent a shot over.
On 72 minutes the deadlock was finally broken when Kelly, 18 yards out, had enough time to thunder an effort towards goal and the sheer power of the shot beat Holy into the top right hand corner.
Gills continued in their search for a goal but Reading wanted a second to put the game to bed, and they got it five minutes from time.
Kelly found half a yard of space to the left hand side of the box and from a little under 18 yards rifled another shot beyond Holy who, again, could do little to prevent it.
A third was nearly sealed in stoppage time but a final shot inside the box missed the frame of the goal by a yard.
Reading: Jaakkola, Gunter, Moore, Richards (Andresson 63), Evans, Clement, Kelly, Barrett (Quinn 59), Rinomhota, Smith, Mendes (Barrow).
Unused subs: Legg, Frost, East, Loader.
Gills: Holy, O'Neill, Ehmer, Ogilvie, Wagstaff, Hessenthaler (Chapman 78), Wright, Oldaker, Parker, Eaves (Nash 74), Cundle (Wilkinson 69).
Unused subs: Hadler, O’Mara, Byrne, List.
Attendance: 5936 (450 Gills)
Referee: Mr B Huxtable