Published: 16:00, 09 January 2021
| Updated: 17:10, 09 January 2021
Gillingham fell to a third straight league defeat after losing to League 1’s bottom side Burton Albion.
Burton went a goal ahead in the opening half and struck the woodwork in the second. The Gills dominated the latter stages, with a couple of good chances falling to substitute John Akinde, but they were unable to recover.
Gillingham’s new loan signing Tyreke Johnson was thrown straight into the starting eleven for the visit of basement side Burton Albion.
The visitors had Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink back in charge, desperate to end their alarming defensive record as one if his first tasks.
Burton had conceded 17 in their previous four outings and the new manager will have been pleased to see his keeper Ben Garratt reach the break untroubled, untroubled by Gillingham’s forward line.
The visitors started the better of the two sides, Kane Hemmings curling a shot wide early on while a couple of other crosses were over-hit. Home striker Vadaine Oliver headed clear a couple of corners but was unable to get on the end of anything meaningful in the Burton box.
Burton went ahead on 33 minutes and it was a soft one to concede, Joe Powell’s ball in from a free-kick being diverted past Jack Bonham by what looked like Gills skipper Kyle Dempsey, although Burton’s new signing Hayden Carter was claiming it.
Gillingham were unable to find a response as the break came without much sign of an equalising goal.
It was the third game running that the Gills had found themselves behind at half-time after conceding around the same time in each. At Plymouth the previous week they had turned in a far better second half. That was needed again, but this time with goals to show for their efforts.
Evans made two changes at the break. Jack Tucker was a straight swap in defence for Coventry loanee Declan Drysdale while striker Akinde replaced defensive midfielder Scott Robertson as the Gills switched to 4-4-2.
Tucker made a couple of important early interceptions, blocking a low cross from Lucas Akins and tackling Hemmings after he had been put in on goal by Powell. The Gills defender also kept close to Ryan Edwards as he shot wide.
With an hour gone Oliver was taken off for Alex MacDonald, new signing Johnson playing alongside Akinde for the final half hour, in a bid to make something happen up top.
Akinde had a great chance to level when Tucker got a touch on Graham’s corner. The ball fell invitingly for the striker eight yards out but he put the effort over the bar.
Gills almost conceded a second when Bonham was beaten by Akins’ looping header but the upright came to the rescue.
Visiting keeper Garratt was starting to become busy as Gillingham pressed more efficiently. He made a super save to keep out a header from Connor Ogilvie and then got down well to deny Robbie McKenzie.
The visiting defence was being kept increasingly busy. Tucker headed a Graham free-kick back across goal and that was headed clear.
Akinde had a stoppage-time effort blocked and Tommy O’Connor was also unable to convert. Johnson had a late chance, with a brave header, but the keeper saved.
Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, Drysdale (Tucker 46mins), Ogilvie, O'Connor, McKenzie (Willock 85mins), Robertson (Akinde 46mins), Dempsey, Johnson, Graham, Oliver (MacDonald 60mins). Subs not used: Walsh, Mellis, O'Keefe.
Burton: Garratt, Brayford, Daniel, Edwards, Wallace, Powell (Quinn 74mins), Hemmings (Varney 85mins), Akins, Carter, O’Toole, Gallacher. Subs not used: O’Hara, Lawless, Vernam, Eardley, Gilligan.
Referee: Brett Huxtable