Published: 20:45, 16 March 2021
| Updated: 07:33, 17 March 2021
Gillingham’s play-off dream is very much alive after a three-goal victory over title-challengers Lincoln City.
Steve Evans’ men made a super start at Lincoln with first half goals from Vadaine Oliver and Kyle Dempsey and added a late third from the penalty spot through Jordan Graham.
Gillingham had made two changes to their team - the first time in six games manager Steve Evans had tinkered with his XI. John Akinde joined fellow former Lincoln striker Oliver upfront for the match against the high-flying hosts.
Lincoln had suffered a disappointing home defeat to Rochdale at the weekend and were keen to bounce back and although they looked bright going forward their defence wasn’t as switched on.
A positive start from the hosts came to nothing and it was Gillingham who took a 10th minute lead. Lincoln were unable to clear their box and when Jordan Graham stood up a cross Oliver nodded home his 15th of the season.
It got better for the visitors 10 minutes later when Akinde put the ball into the path of Dempsey and he fired home.
Gillingham were only denied a third when City goalkeeper Alex Palmer made terrific saves to deny Jackson and Graham before Alex MacDonald fired over.
Lincoln couldn’t find their range with Conor McGrandles, Morgan Rogers and Callum Morton all missing the target from the edge of the box.
The Imps had earned themselves plenty of penalties this season but referee Ross Joyce was having none of it just before the break when Johnson went down under pressure from Connor Ogilvie.
Gillingham held onto their 2-0 lead until the break but came close to conceding in the early moments of the second half, Liam Bridcutt’s low drive looking destined for the bottom corner before taking a deflection to send it wide.
Lincoln continued to have plenty of the ball but struggled to make it count. It took them over an hour to get a shot on target and when they did Jack Bonham was there to make a super save, palming Tayo Edun’s shot onto the bar and out of play.
Johnson went down again in the box midway through the second half but referee Joyce booked him for a dive.
Regan Poole put a good chance wide for Lincoln while Rogers and Morton were both denied as the Gills got bodies behind the ball. Tom Hopper also headed over as the home side kept up the late pressure.
Gillingham struck again with three minutes left from the penalty spot. Graham picked himself up after being tripped by Cohen Bramall and beat Palmer with a shot into the top corner.
Goalkeeper Palmer denied Akinde from making it four in stoppage time.
Lincoln: Palmer, Poole, Edun, Montsma, Jackson, Bridcutt (Bramall 65mins), McGrandles, Rogers, Johnson, Morton, Hopper (Scully 83mins). Subs not used: Long, Jones, Archibald, Howarth, Eyoma.
Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson, Ogilvie, Cundy, Tucker, O’Keefe, Dempsey, MacDonald (McKenzie 87mins), Graham (O'Connor 90mins), Akinde (Johnson 90mins), Oliver (Lee 90mins). Subs not used: Bastien, Woods.
Referee: Ross Joyce