Published: 16:35, 19 December 2015
Gillingham got their festive campaign off to a winning start at The Den.
The Gills went two up in a feisty opening half that saw home keeper Jordan Archer sent off.
Bradley Dack netted from the subsequent spot-kick to double Gills’ advantage after Dominic Samuel had opened the scoring.
Ten-man Millwall put the Gills under some second half pressure, but Samuel’s second of the game rounded off the win.
Gillingham were looking for a first win at Millwall since 2003. Their last visit ended with a 4-0 defeat in a season that ended in relegation.
Justin Edinburgh’s men have spent this season battling at the right end of the table and had the comfort on Saturday knowing they couldn’t drop any lower than fourth. Second place was up for grabs with a win.
Former Millwall player Josh Wright came in to Gills’ starting XI as the only change for Edinburgh, replacing suspended Doug Loft. Luke Norris made a welcome return from injury on the bench.
A strong early challenge from Wright showed the hosts that Gillingham – backed by over 1,500 fans - were in no mood for being bullied. It was a half that ended in a mass confrontation, resulting in bookings for former Gill Joe Martin and Ryan Jackson.
In between there was plenty of on-the-ball action, even if the shot count was low.
George Saville shot wide twice for the hosts who went behind after 20 minutes.
Samuel had already been booked for a dive in the box but he glanced in Bradley Dack’s set-piece to put the Gills ahead. It was an all-action half from Samuel, who had been fouled for the free-kick.
It was also from a Samuel pass that the Gills got their second. Cody McDonald picked up the pass and was upended by Archer. Referee Darren Handley sent the keeper off and Dack stepped up from 12 yards to double the lead.
Gillingham played keep ball at the end but frustration from the hosts led to the stoppage-time skirmish.
Millwall came close to pulling a goal back on the hour through Aiden O’Brien. His first attempt was saved by Stuart Nelson and the follow-up cleared by Jackson. It had been the home side’s first chance on target.
Nelson was called upon moments later as Lee Gregory got the better of Gillingham’s central defenders and looked destined to score. The Gills keeper got enough on the ball to send it wide.
Carlos Edwards also put a header narrowly wide for a Millwall side who were looking odds-on to get a goal back. Gillingham held out and came close themselves when Deji Oshilaja put a chance over late on.
A mistake at the back led to Gills’ third a minute from time. Byron Webster’s weak back pass fell to Samuel and he beat the keeper with a cool finish.
Millwall: Archer, Edwards, Webster, Beevers (Onyedinma 83mins), J Martin (Ferguson 46mins), Upson (Forde 27mins), Saville, Williams, O’Brien, Gregory, Morison. Subs not used: Nelson, Thompson. Abdou, L Martin.
Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson (Osadebe 70mins), Garmston, Egan, Oshilaja, A Morris, Wright, Hessenthaler, Dack, McDonald (Donnelly 46mins), Samuel (Norris 90mins). Subs not used: G Morris, Ehmer, McGlashan, Houghton.
Attendance: 12,032 (1,607 away).