Published: 21:37, 25 March 2014
Hard-working Gills ground out a crucial victory over MK Dons on Tuesday night.
Craig Fagan was the man with the winner as he netted his first goal for the Gills to put them ahead early in the second half.
The visit to Stadium MK was the first of four tough fixtures for the Gills against promotion-chasing sides.
But any fears that they would be sucked into a relegation scrap were eased with three points on the road and a rare away clean sheet.
Despite the defeat at the weekend against Crewe, Gills boss Peter Taylor opted to make just one change to his starting XI. Craig Fagan came in for Adebayo Akinfenwa.
The Gills switched things around in defence, with Michael Harriman dropping into the right-back position, where he had the job of keeping dangerous winger Sanmi Odelusi quiet.
The Gills barely had a sniff at goal in the opening half but they would have been happy to go into the break at 0-0, having kept the home side at arm’s length for the first 45 minutes.
Izale McLeod volleyed an effort over and Alan Smith headed a corner over for the hosts. Odelusi did get through the Gills back-line once but he was crowded out as he looked for options.
Gillingham’s best chance of the half came from a set-piece. The ball was played out Steven Gregory and he dragged the effort wide.
The Gills may not have had a shot on target in the opening half but they did just seconds into the second, with Cody McDonald drawing a mistake from the Smith, before stinging the hands of keeper Dave Martin from 20-yards.
Gillingham’s positive approach to the second half paid off and they got their reward five minutes in. Myles Weston beat two players with a run on goal and when his shot was cleared, the ball was played into the path of Fagan and he fired home.
MK Dons made a number of substitutions after going behind and Nelson had to be alert to stop a powerful effort from Ben Reeves.
The Gills keeper was there again, showing safe hands, to hold onto Smith’s 18-yard volley on 75 minutes.
Substitute Dean Bowditch had a chance headed out by Leon Legge but everything MK Dons tried failed, as the Gills clung on for a massive three points.
Gillingham: Nelson, Martin, Hewitt, Legge, Barrett, Gregory, Harriman, Linganzi, Weston, McDonald, Fagan. Subs not used: Baxter, Akinfenwa, Dack, Birchall, Lee, Inniss, Hessenthaler.
MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, Smith, Reeves, Alli, Baldock, Hall (Powell 54mins), Spence, Kay, Odelusi (Bowditch 54mins), McLeod (Loveridge 64mins). Subs not used: Burns, Randall, Galloway, Rasulo.
Attendance: 6,760 (341 Gills)
More by this authorLuke Cawdell
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