Gills seal all three points.
Gillingham put in an excellent display to record a 2-1 win over Northampton at Sixfields on Tuesday evening.
Josh Parker and Tom Eaves did the damage in the first half, and although Northampton pulled one back early in the second half, the Gills defence worked tirelessly to ensure the points came back to Kent.
Steve Lovell made two changes to the side that drew at Peterborough with Connor Ogilvie and Ben Nugent coming in for Bradley Garmston and Elliott List.
Lee Martin returned to the squad as a substitute alongside Scott Wagstaff and Conor Wilkinson.
Gills burst out of the traps and it didn’t take long for Lovell’s side to take the lead. On six minutes Parker received the ball 30 yards out, took a couple of touches and created sufficient space to have a shot. The power behind the strike gave O’Donnell absolutely no chance and from 18 yards the forward found the back of the net.
The goal didn’t change the pattern of play with Gillingham still very much the better side and it could easily have been 2-0 shortly after. Parker found time and space on the right hand side of the penalty area, he waited for the arrival of Eaves who busted a gut to beat his marker, and although he got to the pass first, he sent the ball narrowly over the top.
However it didn’t take the club’s number nine long to register a goal. On 18 minutes O’Neill delivered an excellent pass from the right into the danger zone, Eaves got between the two centre-backs and buried an effort beyond the helpless O’Donnell.
This sparked Northampton into life with Daniel Powell firing well wide of the target following a Sam Hoskins break, but they nearly conceded a third when another teasing cross by O’Neill was this time cut out by a recovering defender.
Gillingham continued to impress; a third goal ruled out for offside when Parker found the net with an excellent header following a short corner routine.
Defensive work was required five minutes before the break when an excellent cross from the right by Hoskins nearly found Powell. It looked like Ehmer was second favourite to get to the ball but got his body in the way and eventually found the ball at his feet which he cleared.
Eaves very nearly secured a third goal moments before the whistle; with defenders approaching from either side 20 yards out he chose to shoot. O’Donnell was racing across his goal but the ball went narrowly wide of his left hand post.
Northampton made a change at the break as they looked to start the second half on the front foot, however it was Gillingham who started the better and had an early corner which was well defended by the Northampton defence.
However with the hosts first meaningful chance of the first half they pulled a goal back. A free-kick was placed right into the heart of the Gills defence and Ash Taylor got his head to it and glanced it beyond Tomas Holy at full stretch.
This gave the hosts a much needed lift and Gills had to dig deep and defend valiantly from a number of set plays, incurring a few bookings along the way.
Martin and Wagstaff were introduced as Gills changed their shape to 4-4-2 and it seemed to make a difference as Northampton then began to struggle exerting the same type of authority on the game. However on the break they nearly drew level when Pereira missed the target when Hessenthaler had two efforts blocked in quick succession at the other end.
As play entered the last ten minutes Northampton began to push Gills back once again as they looked for a late equaliser. O’Toole nearly found a way through when Ariyibi’s low cross was diverted wide by the midfielder.
Gills should have put the game to bed with six minutes to go. Firstly a Parker header was brilliantly saved by O’Donnell before Eaves headed wide from just a couple of yards.
Lovell’s side did brilliantly to run down the clock, and a brilliant ball by Hessenthaler down the line in the fourth minute of stoppage time brought the game to an end.
Northampton: O’Donnell, Moloney, Taylor, Foley (Pereira 46) Powell (Mathis 83), Hoskins (Ariyibi 55), Long, O’Toole, Grimes, Turnbull, Bunney.
Unused subs: Cornell, Barnett, McWilliams, Crooks
Gills: Holy, O’Neill, Ehmer, Zakuani, Nugent (Martin 71), Ogilvie, Byrne, Reilly (Wagstaff 71), Hessenthaler, Parker, Eaves.
Unused subs: Hadler, Garmston, Moussa, List, Wilkinson.
Referee: Mr C Breakspear
Attendance: 5123 (419 Gills)