Gills beaten at Priestfield by high-flying Notts County.
Lewis Macari’s powerful second-half strike was enough to earn Notts County all three points as they beat Gillingham 2-1 at Priestfield.
Notts County took the lead through Macaulay Langstaff, who side-footed a shot from six yards beyond Jake Turner.
Scott Malone brought Gillingham level seven minutes into the second half. He used good trickery inside the penalty area to create space before directing a low-driven shot towards the far corner.
Macari scored the winning goal in the 78th minute when his first-time effort from 20 yards cannoned into the top corner, leaving Turner with no chance of keeping it out.
Keith Millen made four changes following the defeat at Walsall. Shad Ogie missed out due to suspension, while Shaun Williams and Tom Nichols dropped to the bench. Robbie McKenzie was absent through injury.
Max Ehmer, who was named Captain, started at the heart of the defence with Conor Masterson, while Max Clark played at right-back. Scott Malone returned to the left-back position. Jayden Clarke and Jonny Williams came into the starting XI, playing behind Macauley Bonne, who led the attack.
Ehmer had a good opportunity in the sixth minute when he got on the end of Jonny Williams’ corner. However, he headed over from six yards after rising the highest.
Bonne did well to get a shot away after Williams’ strong run down the left. As he got down to the byline he cut it back into the box for Bonne, who got across his marker before volleying over the crossbar.
David McGoldrick tried his luck from over 20 yards in the 25th minute. The forward received the ball in space and took a touch before shooting. The ball had plenty of movement as it went goalward, but Jake Turner was alert, palming it clear of the danger.
In the 34th minute, the visitors had a half-chance when Jodi Jones fired a low ball across the face of the six-yard box, needing just a touch to put it in the back of the net. Fortunately, no one tried to get on the end of it as it went out of play for a goal-kick.
Macaulay Langstaff gave Notts County the lead in the 38th minute. Tobi Adebayo-Rowling sent a cross towards the six-yard box from the right, and Langstaff managed to get away from his marker before side-footing a volley beyond Turner and into the back of the net.
HALF-TIME: Gillingham 0-1 Notts County
Jefferies provided a crucial goal-saving challenge at the start of the second half. Langstaff got in behind the Gillingham defence before taking the ball beyond the sliding Masterson. It seemed Langstaff was destined to score before Jefferies came in to take the ball off his foot before Gillingham cleared their lines.
In the 52nd minute, Malone brought Gillingham level. He did well to control the ball inside the penalty area before coming up with some trickery to cut inside, creating space for himself to shoot. He directed a low-driven effort towards the far bottom corner, which Sam Slocombe could not get near.
Bonne almost had the ball in the back of the net just before the hour. Williams continued to get into good wide positions as he flashed the ball across the face of the goal. Bonne made contact, but it was not strong enough as it went across the six-yard box and out of play for a goal-kick.
Gills made their first substitution in the 64th minute when George Lapslie replaced Jonny Williams.
In the 77th minute, McGoldrick had a golden opportunity to give Notts County the lead. A ball into the box was pushed as far as the former Republic of Ireland international, who saw his shot deflected just wide of the post.
From the resulting corner, Lewis Macari blasted the visitors back in front. The ball came out as far as the defender, who struck a fierce first-time effort towards the far corner. It had too much venom on it and Turner couldn't keep it out.
Following the goal, Ike Orji and Nichols replaced Malone and Connor Mahoney.
Turner was called into action to deny McGoldrick’s effort from the edge of the penalty area. His shot was directed towards the bottom corner, and the Gills keeper did well to get a solid hand onto the ball to keep it out before Ehmer cleared his lines.
Clarke almost found a late equaliser when he managed to get in behind the Notts County defence. However, Slocombe bravely came off his line to block the shot as Clarke tried to prod it beyond the goalkeeper.
FULL-TIME: Gillingham 1-2 Notts County
Gillingham: Turner, Clark, Ehmer, Masterson, Malone (Orji 79’), Jefferies, Coleman, Mahoney (Nichols 78’), J. Williams (Lapslie 64’), Clarke, Bonne
Unused Substitutes: Morris, Gale, S. Williams, Macarthur
Notts County: Slocombe, Brindley (Macari 16’), Baldwin, Cameron, Adebayo-Rowling (Crowley 60’), O’Brien, Palmer, Nemane, Jones (Austin 71’), McGoldrick, Langstaff (Morias 71’)
Unused Substitutes: Stone, Rawlinson, Tipton
Referee: Alan Young
Attendance: 6983 (820 away fans)