Published: 16:30, 28 March 2015
Gillingham returned to winning ways thanks to a late goal from Jermaine McGlashan.
Bradley Dack put the Gills ahead after a dominant first half but Izale McLeod levelled for the hosts after the restart.
McGlashan hit the winner for the Gills, however, with nine minutes left.
Gills manager Justin Edinburgh’s experimentation continued on Saturday as leading scorer Cody McDonald started the match on the bench.
Millwall loanee John Marquis was back in the starting XI while keeper Glenn Morris kept his place, as the Gills reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Hosts Crawley went into the game on the back of three straight wins, taking them out of the League 1 relegation places. They were still very much in a relegation scrap, however, and by Saturday evening were back in the drop-zone.
The Gills, backed by over 1,000 supporters, had failed to win a game in their last four. Those travelling fans were treated to a quality first 45 minutes by Edinburgh’s side.
Their movement off the ball created numerous attacking opportunities, let down only by some poor balls into the box.
It took the Gills 42 minutes to find the back of the net, as Dack latched onto a throughball, skipped past a couple of challenges and rolled the ball past veteran keeper Brian Jensen. It was a goal they thoroughly deserved.
It was Dack’s ninth of the season and he had turned in a glowing first half showing.
Prior to the goal, Gillingham had dominated possession, although Jensen wasn’t overly worked, with many good, patient moves petering out at the business end.
The hosts were struggling to keep the ball themselves and it took until the 44 minute to claim a shot, as Anthony Wordsworth fired narrowly wide. Moments later the same player put a free-kick onto the roof of the net, as Crawley at least ended the half with promise.
Crawley made a double substitution at the break in a bid to give the Gills something to think about in the second half. Gwion Edwards, on the wing, did help liven them up.
At the other end Norris forced Jensen into a save at his near post.
With an hour gone Crawley striker Izale McLeod appealed for a penalty, following a tangle with Gavin Hoyte, but the referee, quite rightly, said no.
McLeod was soon celebrating a goal as he took a ball over the top on his chest, before turning and firing home. It was Crawley’s first on-target shot, with 64 minutes on the clock.
Crawley keeper Jensen made a good save from a Marquis header with 20 minutes left. The same player fired wide when well-positioned, as the Gills broke.
Defender Ehmer made a surging run with 10 minutes left, eventually latching onto Jermaine McGlashan’s cross, but his shot hit the upright.
McGlashan put the Gills back infront when he scored with a diving header, after Dack had crossed the ball in, following a run at goal.
Lanre Oyebanjo fired narrowly wide on 90 minutes for Crawley, who couldn’t muster another leveller.
Crawley: Jensen, Young (Oyebanjo 46mins), Wood, Ward, Bradley, Tomlin, Fowler, Elliott (Edwards 46mins), Dickson (Cofie 83mins), Wordsworth, McLeod. Subs not used: Smith, Bawling, Pogba, Price.
Gillingham: G Morris, Hoyte, Bell, Egan, Ehmer, Loft, McGlashan, A Morris, Dack, Norris (McDonald 68mins), Marquis (Dickenson 88mins). Subs not used: Nelson, Legge, Galbraith, German, Pritchard.
Attendance: 3,570 (1,111)