Published: 16:40, 26 January 2019
| Updated: 08:17, 27 January 2019
Gillingham’s FA Cup journey was ended by Championship side Swansea City.
Oli McBurnie struck twice for the Swans as they dominated the opening half of the fourth round tie.
Josh Rees got the Gills back in it with a goal shortly after the restart but Bersant Celina’s super strike restored the two goal advantage and Barrie McKay added a fourth late on.
Gills boss Steve Lovell made three changes for the FA Cup tie, two enforced, with Alex Lacey and Callum Reilly missing out through injury. Leading scorer Tom Eaves also replaced Josh Parker in the starting eleven.
Swansea made four changes but it was a strong team that was picked to face the Gills, led by their leading scorer McBurnie.
The Swans had plenty of possession early on, as expected, and Barrie McKay struck the post in the opening minutes.
It wasn’t long before Swansea’s early domination paid off, taking a 10th minute lead when Leroy Fer clipped a ball over the top of Gills’ defence into the path of McBurnie, and his deft header went beyond Tomas Holy.
Gillingham, who had knocked out Premier League Cardiff City in the previous round, were on the backfoot for much of the half but still managed to threaten on a handful of occasions.
Swansea were always on top though and got their second on 32 minutes and McBurnie struck again. The Swans had been dangerous down Gills’ right but much of the half but their second goal came from the other flank, starting with full-back Connor Roberts.
Roberts’ ball to McKay was flicked into the path of McBurnie and his low effort was too good for Holy.
Swansea continued to play keep ball for the remainder of the half, seeing them to the break two goals to the good.
The Gills were back in the game with six minutes of the second half played. Elliott List did well to keep the ball alive and he found Byrne who subsequently whipped the ball in for Rees who headed in past Erwin Mulder.
Swansea had appeals for a penalty waved away when Mike van der Hoorn went down inside the box and Matt Grimes had a low effort that Holy got down to save.
Hopes of a comeback faded when Celina picked out the top corner from 25 yards with a stunning strike.
Bradley Garmston forced keeper Mulder into a save with 10 minutes left and Max Ehmer stabbed an effort at goal but he too was denied.
Gillingham conceded again in the 84th minute as Daniel Jones crossed low for McKay and he tucked the ball home from close range.
Eaves had the ball in the net for the Gills in stoppage-time but the goal was ruled out for offside and at the other end Holy saved from Jay Fulton with his feet.
Swansea: Mulder, John, Roberts, Carter-Vickers, van der Hoorn, Fer (Fulton 82mins), Grimes, Celina, McKay, McBurnie (Byers 82mins), Baker-Richardson (James 69mins). Subs not used: Nordfeldt, Montero, Dyer, Harries.
Gillingham: Holy, Ogilvie (Parrett 82mins), Ehmer, Zakuani, O’Neill (Fuller 82mins), Garmston, Byrne, Rees, Charles-Cook, Eaves, List (Hanlan 71mins). Subs not used: Hadler, Simpson, Oldaker, Parker.
More by this authorLuke Cawdell