Published: 16:40, 26 December 2014
Gillingham clinched maximum points on the road with a determined second half performance at Colchester.
Goals from Joe Martin and Bradley Dack put the Gills 2-0 up at the break.
Colchester pulled one back through substitute Sammie Szmodics but were unable to level despite intense pressure.
Two great saves from Gills keeper Stuart Nelson, one in each half, proved crucial.
It’s now back-to-back away league wins for the Gills.
Manager Peter Taylor included midfielder Josh Pritchard and Aaron Morris in the starting XI for the clash. It was Pritchard’s first appearance since November 1 and Morris’ first since October 11.
Taylor also handed a debut to Charlton loanee defender Harry Lennon at the expense of Leon Legge, who dropped to the bench.
Captain Doug Loft wasn’t included in the squad but striker Cody McDonald did get a recall.
The Gills survived an early scare when Colchester dangerman Gavin Massey thumped the bar with an effort from inside the area.
Martin put the Gills ahead with 25 minutes gone when McDonald crossed and the defender, left unmarked, blasted home.
It was 2-0 nine minutes later as McDonald and Dack combined in the box to leave the Colchester defence in a spin. From close-range Dack stabbed the ball past keeper Sam Walker to the delight of the 680 travelling fans.
Taylor’s men held onto their 2-0 lead at the break but it needed a terrific one-handed save from keeper Stuart Nelson, tipping over Massey’s vicious effort.
Colchester halved the deficit on 51 minutes when Sean Clohessy’s right-sided cross was turned in by a combination of Gills defender Max Ehmer and home sub Szmodics.
The Gills were defending desperately at times as Colchester went in search of the equaliser. Freddie Sears had the ball in the net on the hour, from another Clohessy cross, but the linesman’s flag denied the home side.
Massey came close with a long-range effort, that Nelson just managed to get a hand to, before it was scrambled away.
Gillingham were themselves denied a goal when McDonald shrugged off a challenge before firing home. The linesman saw no problem with the goal but referee Trevor Kettle signalled for a foul.
Massey fired wide for the hosts as they kept up the pressure on the visitors and Nelson pulled off a fantastic low save to deny Freddie Sears.
Gillingham: Nelson, A Morris (Dickenson 75mins), Martin, Lennon, Egan, Ehmer, Pritchard, Doughty, Dack (Linganzi 46mins), McDonald, Norris (Kedwell 67mins). Subs not used: Legge, Hessenthaler, McGlashan, G Morris.
Colchester: Walker, Clohessy (Watt 87mins), Eastman, Gorkss, Gordon, Fox, Eastmond (Szmodics 46mins), Moncur, Hewitt (Healey 82mins), Massey, Sears. Subs not used: Lewington, Kpekawa, Lapslie, Bonne.
Attendance: 4,544 (680 away)