Published: 14:45, 05 December 2020
| Updated: 17:30, 05 December 2020
Gillingham are now five unbeaten in the league with victory over Swindon Town moving them closer to the play-off places.
Vadaine Oliver put the Gills ahead against the run of play and they added a second with 10 minutes remaining through Trae Coyle.
Gillingham stuck with the same team which won at Bristol Rovers in the week and went into the weekend knowing the play-off places were once again tantalisingly close. The 2-0 victory over Swindon means they are now five without loss, taking 13 points from a possible 15 since an upturn in results since November.
Victory leaves the Gills sitting 11th at the end of the day, just four points off the top six.
Visitors Swindon hadn’t won at Priestfield since 1986 and had plenty of injury problems, leading them to handing a first league start to Taylor Curran in defence. He was up against Gills’ powerful attacking duo Oliver and John Akinde.
Oliver got the better of Curran to fire the Gills ahead in the 17th minute, with his seventh of the season, but it was a goal that came against the run of play.
Swindon had dominated the opening stages and it needed a last-gasp challenge from Jack Tucker to take the ball from the toe of Tyler Smith after he latched onto a ball forward to run in on goal in the first few seconds of the game. Anthony Grant volleyed over from the resulting corner.
The lively Diallang Jaiyesimi got the better of Robbie McKenizie in the box but there was no beating Jack Bonham at his near post.
Gillingham got away with their unconvincing start as they took the lead when Akinde flicked on Ryan Jackson’s ball forward and Oliver found the top corner after fending off Curran, netting with a confident finish.
The visitors were wondering what they had to do to score after Jonathan Grounds headed against the post and Tyler Smith followed up with an effort that crashed off the bar.
Gillingham had a good chance to extend their lead with a free-kick from just outside the box but Scott Robertson fired into the wall and his follow-up was held by keeper Matej Kouar.
Swindon’s Mathieu Baudry headed Matthew Smith’s free-kick straight at Bonham after a quiet start to the second half.
Swindon had plenty of the ball and only a break out from Dempsey saw the Gills look like increasing their lead as the game passed the hour mark. The visitors snuffed that chance out.
Gillingham introduced Arsenal loan man Coyle with just under half an hour remaining but another of Mikel Arteta’s Premier League hopefuls Matthew Smith, on a loan deal with Swindon, went close for the visitors with a low shot that missed by a fraction.
For all of Swindon’s possession, their defence was nowhere to be seen when when substitute Coyle was played in on goal by Dominic Samuel, finishing well with just the keeper to beat, leaving the Gills two up with 10 minutes left.
Swindon had nothing more to offer as the Gills eased to victory, throwing Coventry loanee Declan Drysdale on upfront as a late replacement, to maintain that physical threat to the whistle.
Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, O’Connor, Ogilvie (Drysdale 90mins), Tucker, McKenzie, Robertson, Dempsey, Samuel (MacDonald 84mins), Akinde (Coyle 62mins), Oliver. Subs: Walsh, Woods, Eccles, Willock.
Swindon Town: Kouar, Curran, Grounds, M Smith, Baudry, Donohue (Conroy 37mins), Payne, Grant (Lyden 85mins), Odimayo, Jaiyesimi, T Smith (Parsons 88mins). Subs: Fryer, Caddis, Haines, Holland.
Referee: Neil Hair