Published: 16:50, 16 September 2017
Gillingham’s long wait for a league win ended on Saturday with victory over rivals Charlton.
Tom Eaves hit the winner, putting the Gills ahead early in the second half, before the home side held out for nine minutes of stoppage time to claim the much-needed three points.
Gillingham had also hit the bar in the opening half as they competed well against their near-neighbours.
Keeper Tomas Holy was once again in great form for the Gills, thwarting the visitors with some great saves, taking the sponsor’s man-of-the-match award.
Gills made two changes to their starting XI, bringing Max Ehmer back in to play the defensive midfield role.
Tottenham loan man Connor Ogilvie, an ever-present before Saturday, was dropped to the bench as Alex Lacey took over at left-back.
Billy Bingham is still missing following a head injury while Lee Martin started the first game of his three-match suspension.
Prior to the game chairman Paul Scally called for unity, saying in his programme notes that: “We can achieve an awful lot if we all pull in the same direction. We do need to get behind the management and the players.”
The Gills hadn’t beaten Charlton in the league since March 1929 and were up against it at the weekend. Ady Pennock’s men started the game bottom of the league, without a win from their first seven.
Charlton opened the Gills up early on but for much of the half they were reliant on long shots at goal, efforts that failed to trouble keeper Tomas Holy.
Their best chance of the half came when Ricky Holmes put in a great cross for Josh Magennis but he hit the point-blank effort straight at the Gills keeper.
Gillingham were unable to create too many first-half openings but did go close to edging ahead. Sean Clare’s free-kick cannoned off the bar but when Gabriel Zakuani headed in, the linesman’s flag was quickly raised to hush the celebrations.
The Gills were forced into a switch just before the break with Scott Wagstaff going down injured unchallenged.
Charlton made a promising start to the second half and it needed a great save from Holy, with his feet, to deny Magennis from close range. Gills needed a break and some battling work from Eaves finally got them going in the right direction.
It was Eaves who got the opener, after 54 minutes, turning home Ehmer’s cross after Clare had played him in.
Charlton attempted to get straight back in it. Tariqe Fosu went close and Holy had to tip over from Holmes. Byrne – sporting a bandage following an earlier collision – headed off the line from Bauer.
Security had been stepped up for the game but it didn’t stop Charlton fans bringing flares into the game, three of which were thrown onto the pitch, leading to a brief stoppage.
Holy, stood infront of the away fans, had narrowly avoided the smoke bombs and came to Gillingham's rescue again with a minute left, making two great blocks to deny Ezri Konsa.
Gillingham: Holy, Lacey, Nugent, Zakuani (Hessenthaler 78mins), O’Neill (Ogilvie 71mins), Ehmer, Byrne, Clare, Wagstaff (Parker 45mins), Wilkinson, Eaves. Subs: Arnold, Starkey, Cundle, Nash.
Charlton: Amos, Solly, Pearce, Bauer, Dasilva, Fosu (Dodoo 67mins), Kashi, Forster-Caskey (Konsa 81mins), Holmes, Clarke (Ahearne-Grant 81mins), Magennis. Subs: Phillips, Jackson, Sarr, Aribo.
Attendance: 7,216 (2,358 away)
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