Gills defeat Addicks at Priestfield.
Gillingham produced their best performance of the season to defeat Charlton Athletic 1-0 at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Tom Eaves bagged his fourth goal of the campaign while Tomas Holy put in a man of the match display at the other end to hand the club a much needed three points.
Ady Pennock made two changes to the team that drew 1-1 with AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday, one of them forced with Lee Martin suspended so Max Ehmer was introduced to the midfield with Ben Nugent coming in for Connor Ogilvie who dropped to the bench.
Sean Clare made his first start at Priestfield with Jesse Starkey, who signed on Friday, making the bench.
Charlton started the better of the two teams with Josh Magennis and Tarique Fosu forcing early saves from Holy with Ricky Holmes proving a difficult man to monitor in midfield.
The former Northampton man looked the most likely man to break the deadlock but it was Gills who nearly grabbed the opener. Sean Clare’s free-kick on 12 minutes was touched onto the bar by Ben Amos, Gabriel Zakuani headed home but the offside flag was raised to prevent the stand in skipper from celebrating.
The home side progressively began to enjoy more of the possession but were unable to find a way through a very organised Charlton defence. Scott Wagstaff sustained an injury before the end of the half so Josh Parker came on to replace him.
Neither side made changes at the interval but it was Parker who nearly stung Charlton on the counter attack, his strong hold up play and Wilkinson’s persistence found O’Neill on the right hand side, his cross was meant for Eaves but Amos read the play well and came out to gather.
Moments later and Holy made a terrific save to deny Magennis from 10 yards. Holmes had an effort which was blocked and the striker looked certain to find the corner only for the keeper to thwart his effort.
Charlton were made to pay for that miss as Gills took the lead on 54 minutes. Clare spotted the run of Ehmer on the left hand side of the penalty area, he had time to look up and play in Eaves who held his run and did the rest with a clinical shot which flew past Amos.
This appeared to give the hosts a new lease of life, although as Gills played with a bit more freedom it opened the game up and both teams used the counter attack well.
Eaves nearly bagged a second with an instinctive snap shot which went over the bar with sub Joe Dodoo forcing Holy into action at the other end.
The fourth official indicated nine minutes of added time due to a previous injury to at the end of the game which set up a tense finish, however Holy was alert when called upon and the Gills saw out the remainder of the match to clinch victory.
Gills: Holy, O’Neill (Ogilvie 72), Lacey, Zakuani (Hessenthaler 78), Nugent, Clare, Ehmer, Byrne, Wagstaff (Parker 45+3), Wilkinson, Eaves.
Unused subs: Arnold, Starkey, Cundle, Nash.
Charlton: Amos, Kashi, Bauer, Pearce, Holmes, Fosu (Dodoo 68), Forster-Caskey (Konsa 81), Solly, Dasilva, Clarke (Ahearne-Grant 81), Magennis.
Unused subs: Phillips, Aribo, Jackson, Sarr.
Attendance: 7216 (2358 Charlton)
Referee: Mr G Salisbury