Gills boss Peter Taylor read the riot act at half time against Colchester and it did the trick.
Taylor’s team were 2-1 down at the interval and on the back foot against their Essex opponents in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy second round tie.
But his team turned up the heat in the second half and eventually cruised through on penalties, thanks to a heroic performance from returning keeper Stuart Nelson.
Taylor said: “It was very poor first half for us and I think we are miles better than what we showed in that half. I wasn’t very happy at half time and I made the boys aware of that.
“In the second half we did very well. I think they really improved but I didn’t really need to tell them, they knew it wasn’t the quality that we’re looking for.”
After twice being behind, the Gills led 3-2, before a late goal took the tie to penalties.
Nelson took centre-stage, saving two penalties and then converting one himself, to win the tie.
“He was absolutely outstanding,” said Taylor, who only returned Nelson to the team on Tuesday night after injury had kept him sidelined since the opening day of the season.
“He was beaten by a fantastic goal in the first half and he couldn’t do anything about that but in the end he has done very well.
“He has worked exceptionally hard to get himself fit for the game. He played, he didn’t stop talking and using all of his experience and then when it came to penalties he said straight away he wanted one.
“He is a very confident experienced goalkeeper and I am delighted for him that he made the saves and he scored one.”