Goal of the Season contender gives Gills victory at Slough.
A stunning Darren Oldaker strike at the beginning of the second-half proved to be enough to put Gills name in the hat for Monday’s FA Cup third round draw.
Slough will feel their first-half exploits deserved more but a much improved second-half display from Steve Lovell’s men ensured Gills progressed in the competition.
Gillingham made one change from the side that beat Bristol Rovers on Tuesday evening, the suspended Callum Reilly being replaced by Dean Parrett. There was also a place for Regan Charles-Cook on the bench as Gills went about reaching the third round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2012.
Gills had the first chance of the game after just a minute; Oldaker finding Elliott List, but the forward’s low shot was comfortably saved in the Slough goal as Lovell's side went in search of an early breakthrough.
Despite List’s early effort the hosts flew out of the blocks and a cross from the right wing narrowly flew over the bar before Gabriel Zakuani had to be on hand to block an effort from the edge of the area from Matty Stevens.
In the tenth minute Parrett showed good feet to get away from his man, but his powerful drive was pushed round the post by Jack Turner, who saved at a comfortable height.
The hosts were looking dangerous early on and Matt Stevens was unfortunate not to give the Rebels the lead. A long throw forward found its way to the on-loan Peterborough forward, but his acrobatic effort went over Tomas Holy’s bar.
As the hosts continued to pile men forward Scott Davies fired an effort past Holy’s post from 30 yards before a Lee Togwell header fell straight in to hands of the Gills keeper.
As the visitors struggled to build any momentum the hosts were building in confidence; Stevens again coming close, this time his effort went the wrong side of the post, much to the relief of the Gills supporters.
The Rebels were looking the more likely to break the deadlock with Stevens and Chris Flood causing problems for the Gills defence whenever they had the opportunity to do so.
The home fans were in good noise as their team continued to threaten at Arbour Park; Warren Harris the next man to come close, his low shot falling inches past the post of Holy.
James Dobson then had an arrowed effort from the edge of the box following neat build-up down the left-hand side, but the midfielder’s low effort failed to trouble the Gills stopper.
Both sides remained unchanged as they appeared for the second-half at Arbour Park. Whatever Steve Lovell said at the break must have had an effect as the Gills took the lead in the 48th minute.
Oldaker picked up the ball 30 yards out after good work from Tom Eaves on the left. The midfielder then unleashed a ferocious effort to beat Jack Turner in the Slough goal, a fantastic strike which received applause from all four corners of the ground.
As the hosts went about a response Warren Harris twisted and turned in the box but saw his effort saved by Holy.
Gills had a great opportunity to double their lead in the 55th minute, Parker was released down the right-hand side bearing down on goal, the forward cut the ball across but it somehow evaded List and Eaves in the box as the chance went begging.
James Dobson then had a low effort saved by Tomas Holy before the following corner was cleared without trouble.
Slough were to come within inches of drawing level in the 70th minute; substitute Manny Williams did well to find space to turn the ball to the right, his pass found Matty Stevens but Holy did well to keep out the effort with on rushing forwards nearby.
Just minutes later and Slough should have been level. A wicked ball in from the left-hand side found its way to Williams but with the forward just yards out he somehow headed wide with everyone expecting the ball to hit the back of the net.
As Slough went in search of an equaliser spaces were beginning to open for Gills. Neat build-up between Luke O’Neill and Darren Oldaker saw the latter tee up Mark Byrne but his goal bound effort was deflected wide.
As the fourth official indicated six minutes of added time Gills knew they’d be in for a tough last few minutes. Tomas Holy fumbled a low cross but Zakuani was there to clear and that proved to be that as Gills secured a third-round tie.
Slough:Jack Turner, Jack Jackman, Mark Nisbet (Simon Dunn 81’), Sam Togwell, George Wells, James Dobson, Lee Togwell, Scott Davies, Warren Harris (Louis Soares 87’), Matthew Stevens, Chris Flood (Manny Williams 69’)
Unused subs: Nathan Smart, Sean Fraser, Mark Scott,
Gillingham: Tomas Holy, Connor Ogilvie, Gabriel Zakuani, Max Ehmer, Barry Fuller (Luke O’Neill, Darren Oldaker, Mark Byrne, Dean Parrett (Bradley Garmston 61’), Josh Parker, Tom Eaves, Elliott List (Regan Charles-Cook 81).
Unused subs: Tom Hadler, Alex Lacey, Noel Mbo, Josh Rees.
Referee: Mr Christopher Sarginson