Gillingham turned in a brilliant display to see off near-neighbours Charlton in the FA Cup clash at Priestfield.
Macauley Bonne opened the scoring against his former team before Tim Dieng added a second soon after. The Gills deservedly led the second round tie at the break and continued to make life tough for the League 1 visitors after the restart.
Twenty years on from Gills’ last FA Cup win over Charlton at Priestfield - beating a then Premiership opposition - ME7 was buzzing from another fine victory.
Gillingham head coach Stephen Clemence made four changes to the team which edged out Wimbledon in a midweek league game that lacked all of the excitement that this game produced.
Three of those players brought in had previously played for visiting side Charlton.
Striker Bonne - jeered by the away fans from the off - was in for Tom Nichols while George Lapslie and Jonny Williams returned to the midfield as Dom Jefferies was named on the bench and Conor Mahoney wasn’t involved.
At right-back the fit-again Robbie McKenzie came straight in to replace Cheye Alexander, looking like he’d never been away.
Charlton, from the division above, started the day as favourites and included 17-goal striker Alfie May in their line-up, having been a summer transfer target of the Gills. There was also a place on the Addicks’ bench for son of a home legend as Harvey Kedwell was included in the visiting squad.
While Charlton striker May attracted much talk before the game it was the Gills who bossed the opening half and took a 26th minute lead.
Bonne silenced the 1,600-plus away fans with a finish past keeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer. Jonny Williams’ ball over the top was met by Jayden Clarke and he in turn found the Gills striker.
Moments after that Max Ehmer threw himself in front of a Nathan Asiimwe shot and demonstrated the way the Gills had approached the match, showing great commitment and a bit of class too at times.
Gillingham’s energy and desire was too much for their higher-league opponents.
It was some neat footwork from Lapslie that led to the second for the Gills with 30 minutes played, slipping a ball through to Dieng and the Frenchman rolled home the second goal.
The only disappointment for the Gills was the loss of Ethan Coleman and Jonny Williams to injury, the latter suffering a facial injury.
Gillingham started the second half like they had the first with only a good tackle from George Dobson denying Lapslie as he prepared to shoot following Bonne’s pass.
Conor Masterson went close with a header from a corner and was well placed at the other end soon after to block a shot from May.
Gillingham were pushing for a third and Clarke nearly got it with an hour gone, twisting and turning in the box following Bonne’s precision pass, but Maynard-Brewer saved.
Charlton fans ended up mocking their own team as the Gills continued to look good for their lead, restricting the visitors to very little.
A mistake at the back from Charlton’s Lucas Ness let Bonne in with a great chance but Maynard-Brewer game to the rescue with a save.
Bonne - named sponsors’ man-of-the-match - was put in again by a stunning ball forward from deep by Shaun Williams, straight into the striker’s path, but a defender got a touch to ensure he couldn’t finish.
With Charlton pushing extra men forward, it was an open ended finish. Lapslie fired a chance over from the edge of the box as the Gills continued to have the better of the chances. The shot count was 14-3.
There was a delay late on after a corner flag was snapped in half but when play restarted Malone was denied a Gillingham third by a timely block.
Gillingham: Turner, McKenzie, Malone, Masterson, Ehmer, Coleman (Jefferies 34mins), Dieng, Lapslie (Nadesan 85mins), J Williams (S Williams 45mins), Clarke (Nichols 85mins), Bonne (Alexander 85mins). Subs not used: Morris, Clark, Hawkins, Ogie.
Charlton: Maynard-Brewer, Asiimwe, Ness, Jones, Edun (T Watson 61mins), Dobson, L Watson (Fraser 61mins), T Campbell (Kanu 79mins), May, Blackett-Taylor, Tedic (Mbick 79mins). Subs not used: Walker, Hector, Thomas, Kedwell, Anderson.
Referee: Sunny Singh Gill
Attendance: 7,717 (1,608 away)