Sutton score in second half stoppage time to deny Gills a point at Gander Green Lane.
Craig Eastmond scored a stoppage time winner as Sutton United beat Gillingham 2-1 at Gander Green Lane.
Omar Bugiel opened the scoring when his close range header took a touch off Elkan Baggott before rolling past Jake Turner. Robbie McKenzie had got the Gills back on level terms with just over ten minutes remaining. He did well to get beyond a couple of defenders before curling a left-footed effort into the bottom corner.
Eastmond scored at the death as his effort from 20 yards curled beyond Turner and into the bottom corner.
Neil Harris made four changes to the side that lost to Colchester on Boxing Day, as Will Wright, Alex MacDonald and Scott Kashket all came into the starting XI. Callum Harriott made his first start for the club, while Olly Lee returned to the matchday squad.
McKenzie had Gillingham’s first opportunity of the game. MacDonald curled a corner towards the near post, which McKenzie ran onto as he headed goalward. Unfortunately, he headed it over the crossbar, leaving Jack Rose untroubled.
Dom Jefferies had a great chance in the 20th minute. Gills broke forward after Kashket got on the end of a long ball forward. He played a good reverse pass to MacDonald, who floated a cross into the box. Jefferies got his head on it, but his header went well wide of the target.
In the 27th minute, Harriott forced Rose into a meaningful stop. The forward made his way towards the penalty area before unleashing a powerful effort. It forced the Sutton keeper into a diving save as he parried it away from the danger before the hosts cleared their lines.
Jake Turner did brilliantly to prevent Will Randall from giving Sutton the lead. The ball was played to the winger, who made his way towards the goal. However, he was immediately closed down by Turner, who bravely went down to claim the ball.
In the 43rd minute, Sutton took the lead. A ball was played towards the back post, which Omar Buigel got on the end of, and he headed it across the goal. The header back came off Elkan Baggott before hitting the back of an empty net.
HALF-TIME: Sutton United 1-0 Gillingham
MacDonald tried his luck from distance soon into the half but struck off target.
Craig Eastmond came close in the 74th minute. Bugiel played a ball across the box that was eventually picked up just inside the penalty area. It was played back to Eastmond, who struck it first time with the outside of his boot. Fortunately, it curled over the crossbar as Turner was left untroubled.
Mikael Mandron, who replaced Baggott at half-time, came close moments later. Jefferies was played through down the right hand side and directed a low ball towards the near post. Mandron came sliding in to send it goalward, but his effort went the wrong side of the post.
In the 78th minute, Robbie McKenzie brought the Gills back on level terms. He received the ball on the edge of the penalty area before doing brilliantly to work his way beyond a couple of Sutton defenders. The ball was on his left foot, and he guided his effort towards the bottom corner. He did well to keep it down and out of the reach of Rose as it nestled into the back of the net.
In stoppage time, Eastmond broke Gillingham hearts. The ball was passed back to the Sutton captain, who was on the edge of the box. He cut the ball onto his left foot before curling it into the bottom corner and out of the reach of Turner.
FULL-TIME: Sutton United 2-1 Gillingham
Sutton United: Rose, Kizzi, Goodliffe (Pierre 73’), John, Hart (Beautyman 36’), Boldewijn, Eastmond, Smith, Randall (Fadhunsi 73’), Neufville, Buigel (Kouassi 79’)
Unused Substitutes: Dundas, Gambin
Gillingham: Turner, Wright, Ehmer, Baggott (Mandron 46’), Tutonda, McKenzie, Williams, Harriott (Adelakun 63’), Jefferies, MacDonald (O’Keefe 85’), Kashket (Lee 90’)
Unused Substitutes: Holtam, Alexander, Green
Referee: Thomas Parsons
Attendance: 3316 (774)