Goals from David Tutonda and Tom Nichols set Gills on their way to three important points against Colchester.
David Tutonda scored his first Gillingham goal as Neil Harris’ side secured their first away victory of the season with a 2-0 win against Colchester at the JobServe Community Stadium on Saturday.
Tutonda gave Gillingham the lead in the 36th minute as his looping header across the goal beat a diving Kieran O’Hara.
Tom Nichols scored his second goal for the club in as many games in first-half stoppage time. Alex MacDonald’s corner was curled in from the left, and it found the head of Nichols, who did well to get away from his marker, and his header hit the underside of the bar before nestling into the back of the net.
Colchester went in search of a goal in the second half as they put the Gillingham backline and goal under immense pressure. However, the Gills stood firm throughout to ensure a vital three points.
Neil Harris named an unchanged starting XI following the 2-0 win against Hartlepool last week. George Lapslie was named among the substitutes for the first time since joining from Mansfield, while Lewis Walker returned to the bench.
Colchester had a great opportunity to take the lead in the 18th minute. John Akinde managed to get on the end of the ball forward on the left and took it towards the penalty area. He played the ball across the six-yard box with the ball needing a touch to put it in the back of the net. Fortunately, no one was in the vicinity to convert, or at the very least test Glenn Morris.
In the 27th minute, Shaun Williams was shown a yellow card following a hefty challenge on Tom Dallison. The ball was there to be won, as the Gills midfielder put a boot up to win it. He caught Dallison on the follow-through, as the home support called for the red card, but Alan Young brandished a yellow.
Junior Tchamadeu had the first shot at goal shortly afterwards. A cross into the box was won in the air by Akinde, but he could not direct it goalward. It fell to Tchamadeu, who struck it, but it went straight into the side netting.
Morris was called into action in the 35th minute to deny Noah Chilvers. The midfielder tried his luck from 25 yards as he struck a powerful effort towards goal. It went to Morris’ right as he got across to palm it away from the danger zone.
Two minutes later, Dave Tutonda scored his first Gillingham goal. Alex MacDonald’s ball into the penalty area was flicked on by Timothee Dieng. Tutonda made a run around the back of the Colchester defence to get on the end of it as he headed the ball towards the far corner. The ball looped over the diving Kieran O’Hara and into the back of the net to cause delirium in the away end.
Dom Jefferies almost made it two in first-half stoppage time. He tackled a Colchester player before making his way into the penalty area, where he tried to beat O’Hara at his near post. However, the Colchester keeper got down to push it behind for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Tom Nichols did make it two. MacDonald curled the ball into the penalty area, where Nichols was in acres of space as he did well to peel away from his marker. He headed it goalward and it hit the underside of the crossbar before crossing the line.
HALF-TIME: Colchester United 0-2 Gillingham
Gills had to put their bodies on the line during the opening 15 minutes of the second half as Colchester went in search of pulling a goal back. Morris did well to get a hand on the ball as Chilvers took it around him, while it took a big block from a Gills defender to prevent the ball from dropping inside the six-yard box.
In the 73rd minute, Gills made their first two changes as Cheye Alexander replaced MacDonald. Lapslie also came on for his debut as he replaced Nichols.
Moments later, the hosts made a huge appeal for a penalty. A ball towards the back post came off a Gillingham man and went out for a corner. However, Colchester’s players and supporters were crying out for a handball. Despite the claims, the referee stood firm and only gave a corner.
Morris was called into action to deny Luke Hannant as the midfielder struck the ball goalward from just inside the box. It was straight at Morris and he palmed it down before claiming the loose ball.
FULL-TIME: Colchester United 0-2 Gillingham
Colchester United: O’Hara, Hall, Chambers, Dallison (Tovide 63’), Tchamadeu, Skuse, Ashley (Read 53’), Wood, Chilvers, Jay (Hannant 83’), Akinde
Unused Substitutes: Hornby, Smith, Sears, Kelleher
Gillingham: Morris, McKenzie, Wright, Ehmer, Tutonda, Williams, Dieng, Jefferies (O’Keefe 90’), MacDonald (Alexander 73’), Nichols (Lapslie 73’), Hawkins
Unused Substitutes: Turner, Adelakun, Gbode, Walker
Referee: Alan Young
Attendance: 5434 (1203 Gills supporters)