Gills secure a hugely important win against Doncaster thanks to an early header from Charlie Kelman.
Charlie Kelman’s early goal proved to be enough as Gills clinched a huge three points against Doncaster at the Eco-Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The goal came after Ryan Jackson’s long throw evaded everybody before bouncing inside the Doncaster box. It fell perfectly for Kelman to head home at the back post from a yard out.
The hosts applied pressure in the second half, but Gills stood up to the threat that was posed as Pontus Dahlberg pulled off a couple of big saves.
The win took Gills another step closer to safety as they closed the gap to the teams above, and now remain inside the relegation zone on goal difference only.
Neil Harris was forced into three changes to his starting XI for the game. Pontus Dahlberg replaced Aaron Chapman, who was only fit enough for the bench, having dealt with a knock all week. Olly Lee replaced the suspended Dan Phillips, while Charlie Kelman came into the team for the injured Mustapha Carayol.
Kelman scored his first Gillingham goal within the opening seconds of the game. Ryan Jackson’s long throw bounced inside the Doncaster penalty area before sitting perfectly for the QPR loanee to head home at the back post.
Two minutes later, Gills came close to making it two. Lee’s free-kick was curled towards the six-yard box. It took a few touches off two Doncaster defenders before going just wide of the target.
Vadaine Oliver had a good opportunity in the 18th minute. Jackson attacked the right side before lofting the ball deep into the penalty area. Oliver rose highest, but his header was blocked before it could reach Jonathan Mitchell.
Oliver had another chance moments later as Jackson’s long throw found the head of the forward. He had to lean back to get power on his header to direct it goalward, but Mitchell comfortably claimed the attempt.
Gills continued their pressure to find a second as Jackson had the next effort. He was allowed to run into the box and created some space before shooting towards the near post. However, Mitchell was on hand to push it away.
Shortly before half-time, Gills were forced into their first change. Jackson went down with what appeared to be a hamstring problem, and he was replaced by David Tutonda.
HALF-TIME: Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Gillingham
Charlie Seaman had the first chance of the second half. He did well to create space for himself to shoot, but his effort was a tame one, which was straight at Dahlberg.
In the 56th minute, the former Swedish international did well to deny Tommy Rowe. The hosts managed to create a two on one down the left, and Rowe came round on the overlap. He did well to fire his shot towards the near post into a crowded area. Fortunately, Dahlberg got a solid hand on it to push it away from danger.
Ethan Galbraith had a good chance for Doncaster in the 70th minute. He received the ball from Josh Martin on the edge of the box, and he tried his luck with a powerful effort. Fortunately, it flashed wide of the post.
There were hearts in mouths for the Gills as Rowe came close with ten minutes remaining. The Doncaster man shot across the goal on his left foot, and it looked like it may be finding the bottom corner, but it bounced just wide of the target.
Josh Martin came the closest to putting Doncaster back onto level terms. He weaved his way into the area before curling his effort towards the far post. Dahlberg did well to get across and get a hand onto it. The rebound bounced off Tutonda, but luckily for the Gills, it went out of play for a corner.
Doncaster continued their late pressure to find an equaliser, but Gillingham stood firm and ensured a vital three points.
FULL-TIME: Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Gillingham
Doncaster Rovers: Mitchell, Knowle, Olowu, Williams, Rowe, Jackson (Smith 27’), Seaman (Barlow 76’), Dodoo (Hiwula 76’), Martin, Galbraith, Odubeko
Unused Substitutes: Jones, Bostock, Gardner, Agard
Gillingham: Dahlberg, Jackson (Tutonda 41’), Tucker, Ehmer, Masterson, McKenzie, O’Keefe, Lee, Thompson, Kelman (Chambers 74’), Oliver
Unused Substitutes: Chapman, Maghoma, Lintott, Dickson-Peters
Referee: Anthony Backhouse
Attendance: 6920 (493 Gills)