Published: 00:00, 12 March 2016
| Updated: 15:06, 12 March 2016
Gillingham got their promotion chase back on track with a home win over Crewe.
Dominic Samuel fired the Gills ahead early in the opening half, an own-goal just past the hour mark doubled Gillingham’s advantage - after Samuel’s shot hit the bar and went in off Jon Guthrie - and Josh Wright struck a stoppage-time third to complete the win.
Victory came at a cost, however, with more injuries for the Gills. Defender Adam El-Abd and captain Doug Loft both limped out of the game.
Gillingham went into the match without a win from any of their previous four League 1 fixtures but they started the afternoon sitting third in the table.
Boss Justin Edinburgh named an attack-minded team which included Jermaine McGlashan, making his first start since the end of October.
Relegation-threatened Crewe started the day second from bottom in the table.
McGlashan and Brennan Dickenson were playing as wing-backs as Edinburgh made a switch from his usual diamond formation.
Gillingham bossed the opening half and were a goal ahead after 12 minutes when a deep cross from McGlashan was headed back in by Luke Norris and Samuel pounced.
There were several more good chances for the Gills but they were unable to capitalise.
A George Williams free-kick fell to Max Ehmer but he was unable to get a decent shot away, having more time than he probably realised.
Later in the half the visiting keeper missed a cross and the ball hit Samuel before rolling to safety. It could have been a tap-in, had the striker predicted Ben Garratt making a hash of the cross.
Despite Gills’ dominance the scores could have been levelled when Zoumana Bakayogo thumped an effort against a post. It was Crewe’s first real chance at goal.
Gillingham’s injury curse struck again just before the break, with El-Abd pulling up.
He failed to emerge for the second half. It meant Gills’ defensive three for the second half were Aaron Morris, Ehmer and Bradley Garmston.
They game began to open up and McGlashan threatened to run through the defence. He eventually chose to put Samuel in, but the Gills striker was flagged offside.
At the other end Nelson had to be alert to save from George Cooper, who tried his luck from distance. Crewe had gone three at the back, giving them more attacking options. Cooper fired wide with another chance as the visitors looked threatening.
Tom Hitchcock had a great chance on the hour, getting in between Ehmer and Morris from a flick, but his finish was poor and the scuffed effort went wide of a post.
Gillingham doubled the lead with 62 minutes gone as Samuel’s shot came crashing off the bar and went in off defender Guthrie.
Crewe had a few half chances, with Billy Bingham firing into the arms of Nelson and Cooper firing wide, with one of several chances for the midfielder.
Gills sub Jake Hessenthaler came close with a shot from 20 yards that went narrowly wide late on.
Nelson’s best save came with two minutes left, blocking a powerful shot from Cooper, after his good work inside the box put him in with a chance.
Wright, wearing the captain’s armband in Loft’s absence, slotted in a third off the post, converting McGlashan’s low cross.
Gillingham: Nelson, Dickenson, A Morris, Ehmer, El-Abd (Garmston 46mins), Wright, Loft (Hessenthaler 62mins), Williams, McGlashan, Samuel, Norris (Donnelly 80mins). Subs not used: G Morris, Osadebe, Oldaker.
Crewe: Garratt, Turton, Davis (Kirk 46mins), Nugent, Guthrie, Fox (Bingham 63mins), Jones, Bakayogo, Cooper, Haber, Hitchcock (Ainley 63mins). Subs not used: Ray, Richards, Atkinson, Ng.
Attendance: 5,656 (146 away).