by Luke Cawdell
Deon Burton hit an injury-time winner for Gillingham against Morecambe.
With three minutes of added on time played Burton, seen celebrating his winner with Chris Whelpdale, right, collected a long ball forward with a fantastic first touch and volleyed home into the roof of the net.
It was Burton’s seventh goal of the season and handed the Gills all three points from a tricky test against lowly Morecambe.
The Gills are now seven points clear at the top of League 2, following a draw for second -placed Port Vale.
Lewis Montrose put the Gills ahead shortly before the break but it was all-square when Morecambe substitute Jack Redshaw struck with 20 minutes left.
Gills manager Martin Allen made four changes to his starting XI, with Danny Kedwell returning up front, while Andy Frampton, Callum Davies and Lewis Montrose also came into the team.
Jack Payne (ankle) was out injured but Charlie Lee (ill) and Charlie Allen (hand) were both passed fit and started the game on the bench.
The hosts made a frantic start to the match and visiting keeper Barry Roche had to palm Matt Fish’s long-range effort over the bar after just two minutes.
A number of corners and free-kicks for the hosts failed to open Morecambe up and as the half wore on they grew in confidence.
Kevin Ellison volleyed an early chance over the bar while keeper Stuart Nelson averted a goal at his near post after Izak Reid whipped the ball in for Richard Brodie, who was waiting to pounce.
The Gills twice had penalty appeals turned down by referee Tim Robinson. The first saw Kedwell wrestled to the floor by Andrew Wright and the second left Romain Vincelot on the deck after being tripped by Ellison.
At times it was end-to-end stuff but it was the Gills who broke the deadlock when, on 37 minutes, Montrose stroked the ball home after Roche could only punch Danny Jackman’s free-kick into his path.
A switch at half-time saw Myles Weston come on at the break for Ben Strevens. The substitute had an early shot at goal which Roche had to get down low to save.
Gills midfielder Vincelot had keeper Nelson to thank for rescuing him and the Gills just past the hour, after his wayward pass fell to Reid. The Morecambe forward played Gary McDonald through on goal but Gills’ No.1 was alert and rushed out to snuff out the danger.
But the slender advantage was wiped out on 70 minutes as Ellison burst into the box and Redshaw was on hand to side-foot the cross home into an empty net.
Gills sub Allen fired narrowly wide late on and Kedwell headed wide in the last minute when the goalkeeper was caught out of position.
With time running out Fish launched a ball forward and Burton showed sublime quality to hit the winning goal.
Gillingham: Nelson, Fish, Frampton (Burton 76mins), Barrett, Davies, Montrose, Jackman, Vincelot (Allen 64mins), Whelpdale, Strevens (Weston 46mins), Kedwell. Subs not used: Forecast, Essam, Lee, Birchall.
Morecambe: Roche, Fenton, Reid (Alessandra 90mins), Wright, McCready, Drummond, Fleming, McDonald, Parrish, Brodie (Redshaw 67mins), Ellison. Subs not used: Threlfall, Parkinson, McGee, Arestidou.
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