Gills miss out on a point as Plymouth leave it late to grab a winner.
Toumani Diagouraga struck in the last minute of normal time to seal a 2-1 win for Plymouth against the Gills at Home Park on Saturday.
Tom Eaves had brought the visitors level in the 84th minute and it looked like the points would be shared until Diagouraga was first to a loose ball inside the box to beat Holy from six yards.
However, there was an element of controversy with Eaves having a goal ruled out on 14 minutes; his effort visibly crossing the line but the officials disagreed.
Steve Lovell made three changes to the side that started the club’s last league game against Oldham. Max Ehmer, Ben Nugent and Scott Wagstaff came in for Gabriel Zakuani, Jake Hessenthaler and Conor Wilkinson. The latter is suffering with a knee injury and didn’t travel.
As for Plymouth they were forced to field new goalkeeper Kelle Roos who signed for the club on Thursday on an emergency loan deal; Luke McCormick having been injured during training on Thursday.
Gills were quick out of the traps and had two corners in the space of 40 seconds; the first hacked clear by Graham Carey before Roos did well to prevent Parker from getting a header in following Ogilvie’s accurate ball into the penalty area.
Joel Grant forced a comfortable save from Holy on seven minutes before a free-kick, taken by Carey, was headed clear by Luke O’Neill.
On 14 minutes Gillingham felt more than hard done by when Tom Eaves looked like he had scored. A cross from the right was too high for the first man; the striker chested it down and hit it early. Roos fumbled the effort and the ball had clearly crossed the line but the referee waved play on to the anger of the Gills players for the second time in five days.
Moments later Jervis saw a shot well saved by Holy before the keeper made more routine stops to deny Taylor-Sinclair with a 25-yard free-kick and Gary Sawyer from a similar distance in open play.
Set plays from both teams failed to trouble the respective goalkeepers in any meaningful way as half-time approached. Steve Lovell was quick to speak to the match officials before heading down the tunnel.
Plymouth had the better chances in the opening exchanges of the second half; Carey’s shot deflected over the bar before a header was put narrowly wide at the far post from the resulting corner.
The hosts were asking questions of the Gills defence and on 56 minutes they finally found the breakthrough. Taylor flicked a ball on to Grant who, inside the box, did well to create half a yard of space for a shot and from 12 yards found a way past Holy.
The keeper had to be alert a few minutes later; Carey’s shot from the edge of the box was driven across him and he had to get it clear with a Plymouth striker looking to pounce on any fumble.
Just after the hour a Gills corner was cleared and Jervis beat Byrne for pace on the right side; his cross field pass to Carey was excellent but the forward was unable to make anything of it with Gills defenders getting back in numbers.
With eight minutes left Roos had to be at his very best to deny Lee Martin an equaliser. Clare ran 30 yards on the left wing, beating his marker for pace and pulled the ball back for the skipper who was waiting inside the box. He hit it first time but Roos made an outstanding save to keep his side ahead.
However moments later he was finally beaten as Gills got a deserved equaliser. Out of nothing Eaves decided to try his luck from range and found the back of the net to get the visiting fans on their feet.
As Gills surged forward to look for a winner they were undone at the other end as Diagouraga struck from six yards, pouncing on a loose ball which Gills were unlucky not to clear.
Roos made top saves from both List and Eaves in the dying stages to ensure Plymouth clinched victory.
Argyle: Roos, Sawyer, Edwards, Bradley, Taylor-Sinclair, Taylor, Fox, Diagouraga, Carey, Jervis, Grant (Songo’o 77)
Unused subs: Cooper, Miller, Ainsworth, Blissett, Threlkeld, Wylde.
Gills: Holy, O’Neill, Ehmer, Nugent, Ogilvie (List 77), Byrne, Wagstaff, Martin, Clare, Parker, Eaves.
Unused subs: Nelson, Lacey, Zakuani, Oldaker, Hessenthaler, Cundle.
Attendance: 11155 (398 Gills)
Referee: Mr D Handley