Steve Lovell leads Gills to victory at Rotherham.
Josh Parker scored twice as Gillingham clinched back-to-back away wins with an impressive 3-1 victory over promotion chasing Rotherham at the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday.
Parker scored the first of his two headers inside the first three minutes before Tom Eaves doubled the advantage shortly after the interval. Kieffer Moore got one back, but following the dismissal of Joe Mattock the Gills took full advantage as Parker headed home his second with less than five minutes to play.
Steve Lovell made just one change to the side that lost against Northampton with Bradley Garmston coming in for Connor Ogilvie who dropped to the bench. Luke O’Neill was available from the bench after recovering with a hamstring problem.
The away crowd had hardly taken their seats when the Gills took the lead. Tom Eaves forced keeper Marek Rodak to come and punch clear for a corner; Billy Bingham was the man who took it and Parker took advantage of some hesitant goalkeeping to nod home.
Rotherham had a chance to try and force Holy into an early save but a free-kick wide on the right wing failed to meet a red shirt with the offside flag going up immediately as a forward attempted to pull the ball back across goal.
Gillingham were the better side in the opening ten minutes and had a chance to go two up. Martin found space to play in Eaves and the striker looked odds on to at least get a shot away but a brilliant recovery challenge from Michael Ihiekwe ensured Rodak in goal was untroubled.
Rotherham began to recover; ensuring they kept possession and waited for an opportunity to shoot. Williams did just that on 23 minutes but Holy was equal to the effort.
Although the hosts enjoyed more of the possession until the break they were unable to find a way through; shots from range were dealt with by the Gills back four, along with Holy.
Rotherham immediately went in search of an equaliser but came unstuck within a few minutes of the restart. Lee Martin drove forward and waited patiently for the run of Jake Hessenthaler to his right; the midfielder‘s cross was inch perfect and Eaves produced a terrific header which beat Rodak.
The Rotherham supporters voiced their frustration as their team struggled to break down a strong and resilient Gillingham back line, but with nearly an hour on the clock the hosts did finally get one back. A hopeful ball over the top found Moore in space between Ehmer and Zakuani; he waited for the ball to drop and thundered an effort beyond Holy.
This gave Rotherham the initiative and appeared the most likely to get the next goal. Zakuani had to come off due to injury and was replaced by Luke O’Neill who was immediately involved as he cleared a Millers attack.
The hosts began to apply heavy pressure as Gillingham started to retreat and protect their lead; however on the break Steve Lovell’s side still looked threatening which was proved on 83 minutes. A free-kick from Martin was aimed towards Eaves whose header nestled on top of the net as he out muscled his marker for space.
With just a few minutes left to play Rotherham were reduced to ten when Joe Mattock was initially booked for a late challenge on Sean Clare, this resulted in a small number of players coming together and Mattock was then shown a second yellow for dissent.
This gave Gills a lift going into the closing stages, and Parker grabbed his second when another inch perfect Bingham corner gave Josh the chance to secure victory from eight yards, and he made no mistake in finding the bottom corner.
Gills managed the rest of the game brilliantly to eat out the time and clinch an excellent win.
Rotherham: Rodak, Mattock, Wood, Forde, Powell, Potter, Towell, Ihiekwe, Newell, Williams, Moore, Cummings.
Unused subs: O’Donnell, Emmanuel, Ajayi, Clarke-Harris.
Gills: Holy, Clare, Zakuani (O’Neill 69), Ehmer, Garmston (Ogilvie 46), Hessenthaler, Bingham, Martin, Parker, List (Wagstaff 58), Eaves.
Unused subs: Nelson, Byrne, Cundle, Wilkinson.
Attendance: 7865 (274 Gills)
Referee: Mr C Boyeson