Published: 21:30, 30 December 2016
Gillingham finished with nine men as they lost an enthralling derby at Millwall.
Lee Gregory gave the home side an advantage with the opener in the first half.
Fred Onyedinma doubled Millwall’s lead and moments later Paul Konchesky was sent off for the visitors.
Ten-man Gillingham pulled a goal back through Bradley Dack but the goalscorer was sent off in stoppage time.
Gillingham went into Friday night’s derby match with the confidence from a last-gasp draw at Peterborough behind them.
Boss Justin Edinburgh unsurprisingly stuck with the same starting XI, with the only change coming on the bench, where Chris Herd returned to the squad in place of Billy Knott.
Six of those Gillingham players started the match a year earlier when Edinburgh’s men registered a memorable 3-0 win at The Den.
Gillingham started confidently enough but any balls into the box were being dealt with by the home defence.
The home side took the lead with 13 minutes gone. Defender Shaun Hutchinson had a header cleared off the line by Baily Cargill and when Shaun Cummings’ ball back in was flicked into the path of Gregory he applied the finish.
Gregory looked a threat for a spell after his goal, with another effort ruled out for offside, but the Gills soon began to get on top.
Gillingham had plenty of possession but took some time before they started to test home keeper Jordan Archer.
Jake Hessenthaler’s shot from the corner of the area on 38 minutes was Gills’ first on target, comfortably held by the goalie, before Emmanuel-Thomas fired in from the other side. Archer again made a routine save.
There were genuine shouts for a penalty waved away by referee Tim Robinson after Bradley Dack’s shot late in the half hit the arm of Aiden O’Brien. A penalty could easily have been awarded.
Millwall finished the half with a mini flourish but possession-wise it had belonged to Gillingham. Unfortunately it was the hosts who were more dangerous where it mattered.
The home side had their own penalty appeal turned down early in the second half as O’Brien went down under a challenge from Ryan Jackson.
Emmanuel-Thomas fired wide for the Gills and Scott Wagstaff had a half chance from the edge of the box saved.
With 63 minutes gone Millwall doubled their lead. Onyedinma had one effort saved by Stuart Nelson but somehow managed to hook the ball over the line, with the Gills defence left looking at each other.
Moments after going behind the Gills went down to 10 men. Konchesky was red carded for two bookings, both for fouls, the first coming on 58 minutes and the second on 66.
Gillingham made a claim for a shock comeback when Dack fired home from nothing after 76 minutes. He netted from 20 yards after Jackson’s throw was only partially cleared.
The visitors threatened to score a second, as they finished with three at the back. Dack had a shot saved, Emmanuel-Thomas had one blocked. In stoppage time Nelson denied Gregory by which time the Gills had introduced Rory Donnelly and gone to a 3-3-3 formation.
Dack was sent off in the 94 minute as he went in for a challenge, earning him a second yellow.
Millwall: Archer, Cummings. Hutchinson, Craig, Williams, Thompson, Gregory (Butcher 93mins), Onyedinma (Worrall 77mins), Webster, Morison, O’Brien (O’Brien 64mins). Subs not used: King, Romeo, Abdou, Smith.
Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson (Donnelly 89mins), Konchesky, Cargill, Ehmer, Wright, Hessenthaler (Oshilaja 69mins), Wagstaff, Dack, Emmanuel-Thomas, McDonald (Nouble 69mins). Subs not used: Hadler, Herd, Oldaker, Byrne.
Attendance: 10,821 (1,121 away)