Gills leave Lancashire empty handed after 2-1 defeat.
Robbie McKenzie’s goal 15 minutes from time only proved to be a consolation as Gills lost 2-1 at Highbury Stadium on Saturday.
McKenzie scored thanks to the work of Mustapha Carayol, whose cut-back allowed McKenzie to fire into the bottom corner.
Fleetwood were initially two goals in front thanks to a goal in either half. Harrison Biggins gave them the lead before Tom Clarke doubled it with a header from six yards out.
Rhys Bennett returned to the Gills starting XI after missing the last month through injury. David Tutonda and Ben Reeves returned to the bench after overcoming their respective injuries.
Jamie Cumming was unable to start due to Chelsea’s COVID policy, so Aaron Chapman retained his place between the sticks.
In the 12th minute, Chapman did well to deny Ged Garner from opening the scoring. Danny Andrew delivered a cross towards the six-yard box, and Garner got a touch towards the goal. Chapman reacted quickly and pushed the effort away from danger.
Carayol had the first Gills chance of the game in the 28th minute. Olly Lee’s quick thinking saw him play a free-kick out wide to the winger. Carayol cut inside and shot towards the goal, but it proved to be a comfortable save for Alex Cairns.
In the 38th minute, Harrison Biggins put Fleetwood in front. Paddy Lane’s cross into the box saw Biggins make a free run into the danger zone, and he slid onto the end of the cross and put it into the bottom corner.
HALF-TIME: Fleetwood Town 1-0 Gillingham
Carl Johnston had the first chance of the second half, as he tried his luck from distance. His effort was straight at Chapman, who claimed it at the second attempt.
Dan Phillips forced Cairns into a save in the 53rd minute. He received the ball 25 yards from goal and shot with his left foot. However, it was straight at the Fleetwood keeper, who clutched onto it.
Gills had huge appeals for a penalty waved away in the 57th minute. A ball into the box bounced over everyone’s heads, and it fell for Olly Lee, but as he tried to latch onto the loose ball, he had his shirt pulled and went down. However, the referee wasn't interested and play carried on.
Danny Andrew came close to doubling Fleetwood’s lead just after the hour. He had space 20 yards from goal and decided to shoot. His effort hit the face of the post, with Chapman at full stretch, before Harvey Lintott cleared the rebound.
Tom Clarke scored moments later for the hosts. A short corner allowed a better angle for a cross, where Clarke ran across the defence before heading home from six yards.
In the 75th minute, Robbie McKenzie pulled a goal back for Gillingham. Carayol received the ball out wide and nutmegged his man before running into the box. His initial cross was blocked, but he received the second ball and played it back to McKenzie. He shot first time and drilled it low and hard into the bottom corner, giving Cairns little chance of keeping it out.
Gills sent bodies forward late on, and John Akinde was inches away from having a shot from close range. However, Fleetwood were fortunate as a loose bounce went their way, and the final whistle sounded following five minutes of added time.
FULL-TIME: Fleetwood 2-1 Gillingham
Gillingham: Chapman, Lintott, Bennett, Tucker, McKenzie, Phillips (Tutonda 77’), O’Keefe, Lloyd (Sithole 87’), Carayol, Lee, Akinde
Unused Substitutes: Cumming, Akehurst, Reeves
Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Andrew, McLaughlin, Clarke, Morton (Johnson 70’), Garner (Clark 90’), Matete, Morris (Edmondson 78’), Biggins, Lane, Johnston
Unused Substitutes: Crellin, Conn-Clarke, Boyle, Hayes
Referee: Steve Martin