Steve Lovell left disappointed as Gills are beaten at home by Shrewsbury.
Second half goals from James Bolton and Tyrese Campbell sealed all three points for Shrewsbury Town on Saturday afternoon as the Gills slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Priestfield.
Gillingham failed to get going at a sun drenched Priestfield on Saturday afternoon, and despite Billy Bingham and Josh Rees both coming close to netting for the Gills, In truth, the hosts were deservedly beaten.
Boss Steve Lovell welcomed back Billy Bingham to the starting eleven for the visit of Shrewsbury, with Leo Da Silva Lopes missing out with an illness. Darren Oldaker returned to the bench as Gills looked to distance themselves from the bottom four.
And the returning Bingham nearly made an immediate impact. The ball rolled kindly to the midfielder, but the former Dagenham man saw his shot cannon back off the post, with keeper Mitchell beaten in what was a bright start in the Kent sunshine.
Shrewsbury threatened just moments later though, a free-kick wasn’t cleared and the ball fell kindly to Tyrese Campbell. The forward got his shot off, but it fell in to the arms of Tomas Holy. Another free-kick, this time from Shaun Whalley, scraped the post as the game started at an electric speed.
Campbell would come close again, Holy this time doing brilliantly to spread himself as the forward shot wide from inside the box. A let off for the Gills defence, who were caught short at the back.
As the game finally settled down, Gills looked to get a foothold and Dean Parrett and Brandon Hanlan both headed over half chances from inside the box.
In the 30th minute, Shrewsbury had penalty appeals waved away after a coming together in the area, referee Thomas Bramall was unmoved though. Luke Waterfall headed the resulting corner over the bar.
After a bright opening, Steve Lovell's side were struggling to get a grip of the game and a string of Shrewsbury corners came to nothing as the Gills defence managed to hold firm.
As the half-time interval approached, a free-kick from Luke O’Neill appeared to be heading towards an unmarked Tom Eaves, but the cross was cleared with the forward looking certain to head home from inside the box.
Elliott List was brought on at the break in place of Bingham, but the first chance of the second half went the way of Shrewsbury. A free-kick from the right-hand side went all the way through to Omar Beckles, but he couldn’t beat Holy.
The pressure told a couple of minutes later when Shrewsbury took a deserved lead. James Bolton rolled his man on the edge of the box and struck across Tomas Holy in to the far corner to give the Shrews the lead in Kent.
Gillingham looked to step up the tempo and an O’Neill free-kick looked to be heading in, but it went narrowly past the post as it remained 0-1 in ME7.
Shrewsbury added a second in the 60th minute when Campbell slotted past Tomas Holy to double the lead. Again, Holy had no chance and the Gills had a mountain to climb at Priestfield. 0-2
In the 67th minute a ball in from Luke O’Neill found Tom Eaves unmarked inside the box, but he headed straight at Mitchell.
Tahvon Campbell came on for his home debut as Lovell made the last throw of the dice, Parrett making way.
Time was running out for the hosts, but a resolute Shrewsbury backline were marshalling the forward line well.
Gills’ best chance of the second half came with just two minutes left on the clock. Brandon Hanlan powered down the left-hand side, cut the ball back to Josh Rees inside the box, but he was denied by two crucial blocks from the Shrews backline. How it was kept out, we couldn’t tell!
It just wasn’t to be for Gills, who now face Plymouth Argyle in a crunch game on Easter Friday.
Gills: Holy, O’Neill, Ehmer, Ogilvie, Fuller, Byrne, Bingham (list 45), Parrett (Campbell 72), Burke (Rees 65), Hanlan, Eaves
Unused subs: Hadler, Lacey, Oldaker, King
Shrewsbury: Mitchell, Williams, Beckles, Whalley (Laurent 70), Docherty, Campbell (Okenabirhie 82), Bolton (Sears), Waterfall, Golbourne, Norbun, Grant
Unused subs: Charles-Cook, Sadler, Gillead, Payne
Attendance: 4474 (246 away fans)
Referee: Mr Thomas Bramall