Shrewsbury take maximum points following two first half goals.
The Gills slipped to a disappointing defeat at MEMS Priestfield Stadium against Shrewsbury Town on Saturday despite dominating large swathes of the game.
Goals from Morris and Rodman gave the Shrews an ultimately unassailable two-goal lead at half-time. Josh Parker got Gillingham back into the game heading in a brilliant Scott Wagstaff cross late on, however the home team were unable to breach the Shrewsbury defence a second time despite sustained pressure in the final stages.
Gills Head Coach Ady Pennock made two changes from the side that gained a point against Southend United last weekend, and changed to the 4-4-2 formation that finished that game. Wagstaff came in at right midfield and Ben Nugent made his first league start for the Gills with Max Ehmer and Gabriel Zakuani, away on international duty, the players to make way.
Sean Clare, fresh from signing from Sheffield Wednesday on loan until January on deadline day, made the match day squad for the Gills, coming on in the second half for his debut.
The Gills had the first chance of the game when Tom Eaves got in behind the Shrewsbury defence and volleyed first-time towards goal but the keeper was equal to his effort to stop Gillingham grabbing an early goal.
The home side were dominating proceedings in the first ten minutes putting the visitors’ defence under severe strain, although Tomas Holy was called into action once, stopping a tame Rodman effort from the corner of the box.
Gillingham thought they had the opener when Eaves got in behind the defence, however Lee Martin was flagged offside when he picked the ball up from the big striker despite beating a player and seeing his deflected effort hit the back of the net.
Liam Nash was next to threaten for the Gills as the ball deflected fortuitously into his path. Nash drove towards goal and, escaping the attentions of Nsiala, managed to get a powerful shot away that was just kept out by the Shrewsbury keeper, maintaining parity.
The Shrews were looking to sit deep and counter, with Godfrey getting a shot away that dribbled wide before a dangerous cross from the right flank was well defended by Nugent.
Rodman had a fantastic chance to give the visitors the lead as they fought their way back into the game. The visitors broke from a promising Gills attack and an excellent through ball just eluded Wagstaff to set Rodman through on goal, but his left foot shot was inches wide with Holy beaten.
Shortly after, a lofted through ball found Morris but from a tight angle he was denied by Holy.
The visitors weren’t to be denied for much longer. After half an hour, Rodman burst into the box getting to the by-line and his pullback was deflected into the path of Morris who this time made no mistake, blasting into the roof of the net.
Gillingham looked to get back on level terms right away. Nash was looking lively and he nearly provided an assist for Martin as he got beyond the back line and found the winger with a decent cross, but a poor first touch meant the chance went begging.
Shrewsbury doubled their lead after 36 minutes with Whalley finding space down the right flank before delivering a deep cross which Rodman, arriving late at the back post, nodded past Holy.
Half-time arrived with neither side able to carve out any further chances, despite the Gills continuing to probe and finding particular joy down the left hand side with Martin and Ogilvie combining well.
H/T: 0 – 2
The Gills made the early running in the second half. Eaves did well to win the ball on the by-line but his cross towards Nash was over-hit and, minutes later, with Billy Bingham off the pitch receiving treatment, a Rodman shot from 25 yards was comfortably gathered by Holy.
A series of long Mark Byrne throw-ins gave the Gillingham defence a chance to get into the penalty area but, despite causing danger, the ball refused to fall to a man in blue and the Shrews rode out the pressure.
Parker was introduced after the hour with Nash making way, as Pennock looked to get back into the game.
Parker immediately won the Gills a corner as he attacked down the right wing, and Byrne volleyed over after Bingham’s initial delivery was cleared.
Pennock then brought on Clare for his Gillingham debut, replacing Luke O’Neill as the Gills shifted to a 3-5-2 formation. Clare was welcomed to League One football with an industrial challenge from Brown and the Shrewsbury winger was perhaps lucky to only see yellow brandished by the referee. From the resulting free-kick, Byrne again volleyed fiercely wide from 30 yards.
The Gills were dominating possession but struggling to find a cutting edge up front, with Eaves the latest to see a half-chance well saved by the Shrewsbury keeper as he shot from the tightest of angles.
Gillingham did score the goal that got them back into the game, however, as Wagstaff delivered a fantastic left-footed cross from the right flank and substitute JOSH PARKER found the space to glance the ball home into the left hand corner of the net.
Bingham went extremely close to grabbing an equaliser for the home side as the ball fell to him 30 yards out. He lashed the ball towards goal, however the ball just rose above the crossbar.
The Gills were heaping the pressure on the Shrews defence as Pennock threw Greg Cundle on, before an Eaves shot was blocked by the defence.
As the game entered the five minutes of stoppage time, Gillingham continued to throw the kitchen sink at the visitors with Holy even asking to come up for a corner, however Shrewsbury resisted and claimed all three points.
F/T: 1 – 2
The Gills travel to the Kassam Stadium next Saturday to take on Oxford United, before travelling to AFC Wimbledon in ten days time.
Gillingham: Holy; O’Neill (Clare, 64), Lacey, Nugent, Ogilvie; Wagstaff, Byrne, Bingham, Martin (Cundle, 80); Nash (Parker, 60), Eaves
Unused subs: Arnold, Ehmer, Hessenthaler, Oldaker
Shrewsbury Town: MacGilliviray; Godfrey, Nsiala, Sadler, Bolton; Rodman (John-Lewis, 83), Ogogo, Nolan, Brown; Whalley (Beckles, 86), Morris (Payne, 64)
Unused subs: Coyne (GK), Dodds, Gnahoua, Adams
Referee: Mr Kevin Johnson