Published: 16:45, 05 April 2021
| Updated: 18:21, 05 April 2021
Gillingham’s Easter Monday defeat at play-off rivals Blackpool leaves them with an uphill task for their remaining six games of the season.
Blackpool’s leading scorer Jerry Yates - a player who started his career under Steve Evans at Rotherham - was handed a couple of goals inbetween an effort from Gills’ Jordan Graham. Sullay Kaikai made it 3-1 at the break and set up their fourth in the second half.
Gillingham were two points adrift of the top six prior to the match against a side 12-unbeaten before play. Blackpool deservedly took the points at Bloomfield Road to extend their unbeaten run and dent Gills’ hopes.
The Gills gifted Blackpool a fifth minute opener when Stuart O’Keefe poked a ball back into the path of Yates who had time to place his shot beyond Jack Bonham.
Both teams created openings throughout the half, with the forwards on top, and the Gills levelled it up on 14 minutes when John Akinde held the ball up before finding Graham and after one touch he swept the ball home.
Moments before the equaliser Akinde had chosen to square the ball for strike partner Vadaine Oliver rather than take a shot on from an angle. He only found a defender. He made amends with the move for Graham’s leveller.
The Gills had done well to get back on level terms but with 20 minutes gone they were behind once again. Jack Tucker had been harshly penalised for a challenge and from Luke Garbutt’s delivery Yates met the ball at the near post, quicker to it then the Gills defenders and his touch was enough to take it past Bonham.
Blackpool made it 3-1 with half an hour gone, a quick move around the Gills box ending at the feet of Kaikai and his low drive went beyond Bonham into the bottom corner.
Both sides remained likely to score and both Alex MacDonald and Oliver put chances wide for the Gills before the break. O'Keefe was also denied by a great save after working his way into the box.
Opportunities were harder to come by in the second half, the hosts not having to take any risks with a 3-1 lead. Tucker had a half chance from a free-kick helped on by Connor Ogilvie but keeper Chris Maxwell gathered easily.
With an hour gone Dominic Samuel and Olly Lee were introduced while Evans tweaked his formation.
Moments after the changes the Gills conceded another as Kaikai was played in, he then squared for Elliot Embleton who in turn struck to all-but end hopes for the visitors.
Bonham saved from Ellis Simms late on as the home side eased towards full time.
Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, Ogilvie, Tucker, Dempsey, O’Keefe, O’Connor, MacDonald (Lee 60mins), Graham, Oliver, Akinde (Samuel 60mins). Subs not used: Bastien, Willock, McKenzie, Johnson, Woods.
Blackpool: Maxwell, Turton, Thorniley, Ballard, Garbutt, Dougall, Ward, Embleton (Gabriel 67mins), Kaikai (Mitchell 86mins), Simms, Yates (Robson 86mins). Subs not used: Moore, Ekpiteta, Gretarsson, Husband.
Referee: Darren Drysdale