MK Dons come from behind to win at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
Ten-man Gillingham’s defiant defensive display was broken by two late MK Dons goals at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Saturday.
Vadaine Oliver had given Gillingham the lead, but Stuart O’Keefe’s red card following a second yellow card turned the game on its head.
MK Dons won a penalty from O’Keefe’s sending off, and Scott Twine scored the rebound. Peter Kioso blasted the visitors in front in the 39th minute. Gills were in the game until the final ten minutes when an own goal, and a Max Watters finish, put the game out of reach.
Steve Evans was forced into one change from the side that drew to Burton last Saturday. Mustapha Carayol missed out through injury and was replaced by Stuart O’Keefe. Charlie Kelman made his MEMS Priestfield Stadium debut, while Gerald Sithole returned to the matchday squad.
Gills had the first chance of the game in the second minute. Kyle Dempsey managed to latch onto a loose ball and aim a shot at goal. He forced Andrew Fisher into a save with his legs, and the hosts dealt with the rebound.
Jamie Cumming did well to deny Troy Parrott in the ninth minute. The visitors managed to get in behind, and a ball was played across the box. Parrott’s control was a bit heavy, forcing him to strike on the half-volley. Cumming was equal to it, and Robbie McKenzie was on hand to clear away.
In the 20th minute, Vadaine Oliver put Gillingham in front. Kyle Dempsey’s skilful run allowed him to get into space before switching the play to Alex MacDonald. MacDonald’s initial shot on the edge of the box was blocked, and he picked up the loose ball and ran into the area. He dinked a cross towards the back post, where Oliver was unmarked to head down past Andrew Fisher and into the back of the net.
Seven minutes later, Stuart O’Keefe was sent off for a second yellow card. He caught an MK Dons player as he was breaking into the penalty area and gave away a spot-kick in the process.
Scott Twine stepped up to take the penalty and saw his initial effort saved by Cumming, who guessed the right way. However, the rebound fell perfectly for Twine to knock into an empty net.
In the 39th minute, Peter Kioso put the visitors in front. He played a quick one-two with Hiram Boateng, before blasting a fierce effort into the roof of the net, giving Cumming no chance.
Ben Reeves, who replaced Charlie Kelman before the goal, forced Fisher into a save shortly afterwards. He received the ball from distance and tried his luck, but it was a comfortable save for the MK goalkeeper.
HALF-TIME: Gillingham 1-2 MK Dons
Troy Parrot had the first chance of the second half, but his strong effort rattled the stanchion as Cumming was left untroubled to his right side.
In the 62nd minute, Oliver had a massive opportunity to equalise. He got on the end of an under-hit backpass, but he was always stretching to get on the end of it. His left-footed effort was closed down by the oncoming Fisher, who did well to bravely save the shot.
Oliver came close to equalising in spectacular fashion shortly after. A free-kick was played back across the edge of the box by Jack Tucker, and it found the Gills forward. He tried a speculative half-volley that forced Fisher into a big save to push it over the crossbar.
Max Watters managed to just beat the offside trap in the 75th minute, but his shot from the edge of the box was straight at Cumming, who saved with his legs.
MK Dons bagged a third goal with little under ten minutes to go. They managed to get behind the Gillingham defence, and Parrott drilled the ball across the box. It took a deflection and wrong-footed Cumming on its way into the back of the net.
Second-half substitute Max Watters made it four in the 88th minute. Twine thread it through to the forward, who had his initial effort saved by Cumming. He made no mistake the second time blasting the rebound into the roof of the net.
FULL-TIME: Gillingham 1-4 MK Dons
Gillingham: Cumming, McKenzie, Ehmer, Tucker, Tutonda (Bennett 46’), Adshead (Sithole 54’), O’Keefe, MacDonald, Dempsey, Oliver, Kelman (Reeves 37’)
Unused Substitutes: Chapman, Lee, Lloyd
MK Dons: Fisher, Lewington, O’Hora, Darling, O’Riley, Robson (McEachran 86’), Harvie, Kioso (Watson 76’), Boateng (Watters 60’), Twine, Parrott
Unused Substitutes: Ravizolli, Jules, Brown, Martin
Referee: John Busby