Gillingham picked up another win under Neil Harris as their quest for survival received a huge boost at Accrington.
Charlie Kelman headed the Gills infront at Accrington before strike partner Vadaine Oliver bagged his 10th of the season. Colby Bishop's stoppage-time penalty ensured it was a tense finish for the Gills.
Gillingham went into the weekend sitting outside of the drop zone for the first time in four months and their fine form under Harris continued at Accrington. It’s five wins from their last 12 since the new manager took over.
Opponents Accrington, starting the day comfortably in mid-table, had won their previous four on home soil and were unbeaten in nine at the Wham Stadium. Teenage keeper Liam Isherwood was making his first start, replacing suspended Toby Savin and he was caught out for Gills’ second goal.
The Gills struggled to get a meaningful chance at goal in the opening half to test the rookie home keeper.
Accrington’s defence managed to snuff out most of the opportunities, with Vadaine Oliver putting an effort into the side netting and Olly Lee blasting another well over the bar.
Gillingham keeper Aaron Chapman wasn’t overly tested either, but at least had to cling onto a couple of efforts, the first coming early on when Bishop had a pop from the edge of the box.
Mitch Clark dragged a shot wide, Sean McConville missed the target and Ethan Hamilton had an effort straight at the keeper.
If the first half lacked quality infront of goal, Bishop almost came up with something special early in the second with an overhead kick that Chapman turned over the bar.
Charlie Kelman made Isherwood work to save his angled drive while Chapman needed to be alert to deny Accrington’s Korede Adedoyin from close range.
Home defender Ross Sykes almost converted a corner at the far post but Chapman was there to keep it out for the Gills and Oliver blocked a follow-up.
With 65 minutes gone the Gills took the lead. Oliver looked to have been held in the box but he wriggled free and after his shot into the ground was helped on by keeper Isherwood, Kelman was there to nod the ball home.
Gillingham got a second goal on 73 minutes and it was a simple one. Dan Phillips’ up and under was met by Oliver, towering over the young home keeper, and he had the simple task of nodding the ball home infront of the delirious away fans.
Inbetween those goals Chapman had saved well again to deny Hamilton who had fired an effort in low at goal.
The Gills made life hard for themselves late on when Ryan Jackson tripped Harvey Rodgers inside the box and Bishop slotted in the penalty on 91 minutes. There were seven minutes added on.
Home fans called for another penalty in the last minute of stoppage-time when Jack Tucker climbed over a player to make a clearance but the referee wasn't having it.
Accrington: Isherwood, Rodgers, Hamilton (O’Sullivan 69mins), Sykes, Pell (Longelo 88mins)), Bishop, McConville, Nottingham, Coyle, Clark, Adedoyin (Pritchard 69mins). Subs not used: Hood, Rich-Baghuelou, Butcher, Conneely.
Gillingham: Chapman, Masterson, Tucker, Ehmer, Jackson, Tutonda, O’Keefe (Phillips 60mins), Lee, Thompson, Oliver, Kelman (Reeves 89mins). Subs not used: Dahlberg, Maghoma, Akehurst, Chambers, Dickson-Peters.
Attendance: 2,764 (253 away)
Referee: Scott Oldham