Tom Eaves nets 20th goal of the season as Gills climb into the top half of League 1.
Leo da Silva Lopes scored the pick of the Gillingham goals as Steve Lovell’s side went five points clear of the relegation zone, following a 4-2 win against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday at Kingsmeadow.
The loanee’s smart first touch inside the penalty area opened up space for him to smash the ball into the far corner of the goal and put the Gills 3-1 up.
The Gills fell behind to an early goal from Michael Folivi; the goal came from a mazy run from Scott Wagstaff which cut through the Gills defence. His cut back was met by Folivi who fired past Tomas Holy.
However, Gillingham got themselves level and then in front following two goals in two minutes before the break.
The first came from Brandon Hanlan in the 40th minute. It was created by da Silva Lopes as his driving run towards the penalty area opened up space. He played Hanlan through and his shot at the near post went underneath Aaron Ramsdale.
Less than a minute later Graham Burke gave the Gills the lead as his effort from range was spilled by Ramsdale and trickled into the bottom corner.
Eaves scored his 20th goal of the season and Gillingham’s fourth just seven minutes from time.
He met Luke O’Neill’s free kick and flicked it beyond Ramsdale to cap off a perfect afternoon for the Gills.
The Wombles scored a consolation goal in stoppage time through James Hanson but it was not enough as the Gills won in comfortable fashion.
Steve Lovell named an unchanged side following the 2-2 draw at Luton last week. This meant Tomas Holy made his 100th appearance in a Gills shirt having signed for the club in January 2017. Alex Lacey returned to the bench following injury and was joined by Dean Parrett who missed out last week through illness.
There were some familiar faces in the Wimbledon squad as Scott Wagstaff and former loanee Joe Pigott started, whilst ex-Gills winger Andy Barcham was named amongst the substitutes.
The first chance of the game went to the hosts in the fifth minute.
Good link up play from Folivi and Pigott allowed the latter to get in behind the Gills back four. Having worked his way out to the left touchline, Pigott put a curling cross into the direction of Folivi. Fortunately his header was straight at Holy.
Just minutes later Wimbledon had another great chance. Pigott was again the orchestrater getting behind the Gills defence and cutting the ball across the six yard box.
Steven Seddon met it, but was unable to get any sold contact as his shot went wide of the goal.
The home teams onslaught continued as Pigott hit the post from the edge of the penalty area. However, it would not have counted had he scored as he was ruled offside by the linesman.
In the 22nd minute Wimbledon took a deserved lead through Folivi.
Wagstaff drove into the penalty area unchallenged before cutting the ball back to Folivi near the penalty spot, who thumped a left footed shot past Holy into the goal.
The first Gills chance came from Brandon Hanlan in the 28th minute. Da Silva Lopes picked up the ball in midfield and drove at the Wimbledon defence. His through ball put Hanlan in on goal, but his shot was saved at the front post by Aaron Ramsdale.
However, in the 40th minute the striker made no mistake to bring the teams level.
In similar fashion to his chance earlier, Lopes drove towards the penalty area before playing Hanlan in on goal. He got some space inside the box before firing his shot under the keeper.
Just moment later the Gills were in front in a bizarre manner.
Burke picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and unleashed a shot. The ball was straight at the Wombles goalkeeper but he spilled the ball into the bottom corner and was unable to recover it.
The madness continued as a fantastic double save from Holy kept the Gills in front.
The first save came from a Pigott header which was directed towards the bottom corner and Holy did well to save it. The rebound fell back to Pigott but the Gills keeper once again was equal to his efforts.
HALF-TIME: Wimbledon 1-2 Gillingham
Just a minute into the second half the Gills thought they had their third from Connor Ogilvie.
A corner was whipped towards the back post and Ogilvie timed his run perfectly to be unmarked and head into the back of the net. Unfortunately, it was disallowed for offside.
The Gills did have their third three minutes later as Lopes got his first goal for the club.
A throw into the box was met by Lopes’ oncoming run, following a fancy first touch he fired his half volley into the far corner of the goal giving Ramsdale no chance.
A long ball forward from Callum Reilly looked to put Lopes in on goal once again moments later. This time Lopes selflessly chested it down to Burke but he slipped as he looked to shoot as the chance went begging for the Gills.
Burke this time made clear contact with his shot which, on this occasion, hit the post.
He received the ball 25 yards out from goal and with acres of space and time he curled a shot towards goal, but it cannoned off the woodwork and away from danger.
With seven minutes left a Tom Eaves goal put the game well beyond the hosts as the Gills scored a fourth.
Luke O’Neill’s free kick from the edge of the penalty area was curled towards the six yard box and met by an unmarked Eaves, who flicked the ball past Ramsdale to score his 20th goal of the season.
Following some pressure from the home side they got a goal back in stoppage time from sub James Hanson.
After a handball claim from a few Wimbledon players, a cross was put into the box and Hanson was the first to meet it as he headed the ball into the corner of the net.
They thought they had another one just a couple of minutes later which would have set up a tense finish.
However, it was disallowed before the ball could be put into the back of the net. Holy went to claim a long ball directed into the penalty area but dropped it, however he was clearly fouled in the process meaning he could not claim the ball.
FULL-TIME: AFC Wimbledon 2-4 Gillingham
AFC Wimbledon: Ramsdale (GK), Thomas, Wagstaff (Hanson 60’), Hartigan (Connolly 60’), Seddon, Sibbick, McDonald Kalambayi, Pigott, Wordsworth, Folivi (McLoughlin 61’)
Unused subs: McDonnell (GK), Watson, Pinnock, Barcham
Gillingham: Holy (GK); O’Neill, Ehmer, Ogilvie, Fuller; Byrne, Lopes (Parrett 90+5’), Reilly, Burke (Charles-Cook 88’); Eaves, Hanlan (List 90+4’)
Unused substitutes: Hadler (GK), Lacey, Rees, Campbell
Attendance: 4847 (765 Gills fans)