by Alex Hoad
Two goals against his former club from Deon Burton gave Gillingham a memorable 2-1 win at Rotherham United on Saturday.
The League 2 leaders withstood a barrage of pressure in the second half but stood up to everything the Millers threw at them.
Burton put Gillingham ahead from close range on 12 minutes and then doubled the advantage on 57 minutes with a clinical finish after being played through by Romain Vincelot.
The home side pulled one back with a vicious 20 yard strike into the corner from Jason Taylor on 69 minutes.
The barrage ensued with a series of corners and free-kicks but Nelson produced a superb reflex save to keep out a header from Alex Revell and Millers defender Jack O’Connell headed against the top of the bar while Lee Frecklington headed and curled narrowly wide.
The game was marred by a serious looking injury to Romain Vincelot 15 minutes from time which earned Taylor a booking and saw the Gills man leave on a stretcher after seven minutes of treatment on the pitch.
Gillingham then withstood 11 minutes of stoppage-time to record a vital win in their quest for promotion.
Gills boss Martin Allen rang the changes following last week’s defeat at Preston in the FA Cup, recalling keeper Stuart Nelson following his one-match ban and making four outfield switches, with Andy Frampton, Jack Payne, Charlie Lee and Danny Kedwell all coming into the team.
Kedwell and Lee were instrumental in putting the Gills ahead in the 12th minute with the first chance of the game.
Lee flung in a long-throw from the right which Kedwell flicked-on to Deon Burton who stabbed in a volley from six yards to silence the home fans who had booed his every tough to that point.
Burton's strike gave Millers veteran keeper Andy Warrington no chance and did not endear him to his former fans, who have never forgiven him for quitting the club to join local rivals Sheffield Wednesday and their uproar played a large part in him getting booked on 37 minutes for an innocuous challenge on Johnny Mullins.
The hosts replied to the goal with an aerial barrage, aiming for tall front-man Alex Revell to get flick-ons to the busy Dan Nardiello, Michael O’Connor and Lee Frecklington.
Gills keeper Stuart Nelson parried a 25 yard free-kick from O’Connor on 19 minutes and Revell played in the same player four minutes later, only for O’Connor to slip after rounding Nelson and scuff his attempted shot into an unguarded net from a tight angle.
Jason Taylor tested Nelson’s reflexes with a dipping 20-yard volley after a Revell chest-control just before the half-hour while Gills’ only chance of a second before the break came on 44 minutes when Jack Payne fired over as he slid to try and turn in a low cross at the back post from 12 yards.
Seconds later Revell headed over from a deep corner.
Rotherham: Warrington, Mullins, Sharps (O’Connell 18mins), Arnason, Ridehalgh, O'Connor (Cameron 64mins), Taylor, Frecklington, Nardiello (Odejayi 89mins), Pringle, Revell. Subs not used: Shearer, Hunt, Agard, Rooney.
Gills: Nelson, Fish, Martin, Frampton, Payne (Montrose 71mins), C Allen, Lee, Burton (Weston 71mins), Kedwell, Barrett, Vincelot (Dack 83mins). Subs not used: Forecast, Birchall, Jackman, McKain.
Attendance: 8,029 (511 Gillingham)
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