Published: 21:35, 01 March 2016
Defeat at Fleetwood extended Gillingham’s poor run of form in League 1.
Gills were two goals down inside nine minutes but pulled a goal back before the break through Luke Norris.
But they were unable to find a way back into the match, making it three defeats in a row for Justin Edinburgh’s promotion-chasers.
Edinburgh made three changes to his starting XI, the most surprising being the inclusion of Brennan Dickenson, making his first start since November.
The Gills boss also changed the front two, with George Williams getting his first start and the recalled Luke Norris playing in a 4-4-2 formation.
Bradley Dack was absent from the squad, missing with a hamstring strain that will keep him sidelined until mid-April.
Gillingham started the match playing into driving rain and strong wind and it was their undoing early on. Keeper Stuart Nelson was unable to get any distance on his kicks, leaving the Gills pinned in.
Fleetwood’s Wes Burns had an early free-kick tipped over by Nelson but was then credited with the opening goal after swinging in the subsequent corner, although team-mate Joe Davis claimed a touch at the near post.
The Gills were struggling in the conditions and conceded a second with nine minutes gone. A long ball forward caught the Gills short of numbers and Shola Ameobi, who had run from deep, had a simple finish as he got on the end of Burns’ right-sided cross.
Burns came close with another free-kick and Victor Nirennold almost caught Nelson out with a cross-shot that needed tipping over the bar.
Rory Donnelly, playing on the right of midfield, had Gills’ first on-target shot with 28 minutes gone but the visitors did end the half well, scoring a deserved goal.
Norris was the man to half the deficit, robbing the ball off Davis before finishing well past keeper Chris Maxwell.
Norris was unlucky not to level the scores a minute before the break. His glancing effort was well saved by Maxwell and Josh Wright’s follow-up was diverted wide.
Gillingham made a positive start to the second half but, 10 minutes in, Nelson was forced into making a good save, palming away an effort from substitute Ashley Hunter.
The same player was put through a minute later, but Max Ehmer did enough to put him off with a recovering challenge.
Ehmer had a shot himself midway through the half but it went well wide. Gills had made changes either side of that, with Elliott List and Dominic Samuel introduced to try and add more potency to the attack.
List almost got on the end of a Dickenson cross with 15 minutes left, but was unable to connect and the visitors were unable to get a clear sight at goal during the second half and left with nothing.
Fleetwood: Maxwell, Nirennold, Nilsson, Davis, Bell, Jonsson, Sarcevic (Hunter 46mins), Ryan, Ball (Grant 67mins), Ameobi, Burns (Cole 72mins). Subs: Gogic, Harris, Sowerby, Haughton.
Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson, Chicksen (Garmston 78mins), Ehmer, El-Abd, Wright, Morris, Donnelly (List 66mins), Dickenson, Williams, Norris (Samuel 72mins). Subs: Hessenthaler, McGlashan, G Morris, Samuel, Osadebe.
Attendance: 2,133 (107 away)