Burton dig deep in second half at MEMS Priestfield Stadium to secure narrow win.
Hayden Carter scored the only goal of the game as Burton Albion won 1-0 at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Carter managed to prod home from inside the penalty area, following a Joe Powell free-kick.
John Akinde had a golden chance to equalise in the dying moments but was denied by a brilliant save from Ben Garratt as Gillingham’s relentless efforts to find an equaliser went unrewarded.
Steve Evans made one change from the side that lost to Plymouth as new loan signing Tyreke Johnson made his full Gills debut in place of Josh Eccles who returned to parent club Coventry during the week.
Stuart O’Keefe was named on the bench as he came into the squad for the first time since his injury against the Sky Blues in the League Cup.
Kane Hemmings had the first opportunity of the game in the fourth minute. Kyle Dempsey was dispossessed on the edge of the penalty area, and Hemmings tried a snapshot on the turn but curled it wide of the far post.
Robbie McKenzie had Gillingham’s first shot on goal in the 20th minute, but his hopeful low effort was a comfortable save for Ben Garratt.
Vadaine Oliver had the ball in the back of the net moments later but was flagged offside. Ryan Jackson played a ball over the top of the visiting defence on the half hour mark, and Oliver got in behind. He slotted it past Garratt, but the linesman’s flag was up.
In the 33rd minute, Hayden Carter gave Burton the lead. Joe Powell whipped a cross towards the six-yard box, and Carter managed to stab it home past Jack Bonham.
Oliver tested Garratt in the 42nd minute. Connor Ogilvie did well to work a cross towards the penalty spot, but the striker’s looping header was a comfortable catch for the Burton keeper.
HALF-TIME: Gillingham 0-1 Burton Albion
John Akinde came on as a substitute at half-time and came so close to equalising after the hour.
Jack Tucker, who was also a substitute, headed it down to Akinde from the back post, but his half volley went just over the bar.
Lucas Akins came inches away from doubling Burton’s lead shortly after. His header towards goal was a looping one, and it hit the foot of the post before bouncing away from danger.
Garratt made an excellent save to deny Ogilvie in the 73rd minute. Jordan Graham hung a cross towards the back post and Ogilvie met it, but his header at goal was pushed away on the line by the Burton goalkeeper.
Akinde came agonisingly close in stoppage time to sealing a point for the Gills. A free-kick towards the box was headed down to the striker, he went for power and Garratt made an excellent save.
Debutant Tyreke Johnson came close in the final seconds, but his header from a Matty Willock cross was comfortably saved by the goalkeeper.
FULL-TIME: Gillingham 0-1 Burton Albion
Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, Drysdale (Tucker 46’), Ogilvie, O'Connor, McKenzie (Willock 84’), Robertson (Akinde 46’), Dempsey, Johnson, Graham, Oliver (MacDonald 60’)
Unused subs: Walsh, Mellis, O'Keefe
Burton Albion: Garratt, Brayford, Daniel, Edwards, Wallace, Powell (Quinn 74’), Hemmings (Varney 85’), Akins, O’Toole, Gallacher, Carter
Unused subs: O’Hara, Quinn, Lawless, Varney, Vernam, Eardley, Gilligan
Referee: Mr B Huxtable