Gillingham 3 MK Dons 2
Danny Kedwell celebrates scoring against MK Dons Pic: Barry Goodwin
A penalty double from Danny Kedwell helped Gills on their way to maximum points during an exciting game against MK Dons.
Gillingham had a dream start as Kedwell scored twice from the penalty spot inside the opening 13 minutes.
Former Gills man Tom Flanagan was guilty of fouling Cody McDonald for both penalties – in the space of three minutes - with his second offence earning him a red card.
But MK Dons came fighting back and it was level by the break thanks to a double from Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford.
Danny Hollands restored Gills’ lead in the second half and his headed goal proved to be the winner.
Gills boss Martin Allen had, as expected, stuck with the same 11 that comfortably beat Crewe the week before.
And a blistering start put the Gills in charge early on. Flanagan, who last season picked up a championship-winning medal following 13 league appearances for Allen’s team, endured a nightmare return to Priestfield.
With 11 minutes gone he took the legs of McDonald and referee James Linington pointed to the spot. Kedwell rammed home the opener infront of the Rainham End.
Better followed three minutes later when Kedwell again buried a spot-kick, after Flanagan had again fouled McDonald. This time the Gills forward had been clean in on goal, latching onto a great throughball from Charlie Lee, leaving Linington with no choice but to pull out a red card.
Danny Kedwell scores the first of his two penalties Pic: Barry Goodwin
MK Dons were rattled but soon started their counter-charge as striker Izale McLeod was brought on.
The twin-threat, with McLeod and Bamford, unsettled the Gills defence and they were opened up several times.
Gillingham’s lead was halved on 27 minutes when Danny Green’s free-kick was headed home by Bamford. The same player was there again to run onto a ball over the top three minutes later and slot home the equaliser.
The hosts had at least four more penalty appeals turned down towards the end of the half and came close to going ahead again, with a free header from Lee, but keeper David Martin turned the effort over the bar.
Gills made the extra space count to go back infront just before the hour. Whelpdale released Michael Harriman down the right and Hollands rose highest in the box to power the ball home.
Weston – who had been introduced before the goal for McDonald – came close to extending the lead after MK defender Alan Smith and Steve Williams got in a mix up. The Gills man smashed the ball wide from an acute angle.
At the other end McLeod and Bamford continued to be a threat. Only a good save from Stuart Nelson denied the visiting striker from his hat-trick, as he headed down a McLeod cross from close-range. The Gills keeper had to be alert again moments later, racing off his line to save at the feet of Daniel Powell, following Green’s throughball.
Dons’ keeper Martin spent the last 20 minutes struggling with a hamstring injury, leaving him to plod on with a limp, as the visitors had already used their allocated subs.
The visitors went close again, when Izale McLeod smashed a shot narrowly wide, while Kedwell saw an effort roll across the face of goal in the final minute.
Gillingham: Nelson, Martin, Harriman, Davies, Barrett, Whelpdale, Gregory, Lee, Hollands, Kedwell, McDonald (Weston 55mins). Subs not used: Howard, Legge, Linganzi, Allen, Dack, Akinfenwa
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Hodson (McLeod 23mins), Williams, Flanagan, Gleeson, Potter, Carruthers (Smith 15mins), Green, Chadwick (Powell 61mins), Bamford. Subs not used: Otsemobor, Reeves, McLoughlin, Banton.
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