Nel­son is the hero in Gills’ re­vival

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Sean But­ters

GILLING­HAM are a side re­ju­ve­nated in re­cent weeks and af­ter their lat­est vic­tory, boss Justin Ed­in­burgh picked out goal­keeper Stuart Nel­son for par­tic­u­lar praise.

Nel­son saved a Dean Bowditch first-half penalty be­fore Cody McDon­ald grabbed his fifth goal of the sea­son af­ter the break to leave MK Dons still hunt­ing their first-ever win at Gilling­ham.

The Gills have now won four of their last six but Nel­son’s 200th game be­tween the sticks came on Mon­day when Bolton put four past them.

And Ed­in­burgh in­sisted this win was a more fit­ting trib­ute to their keeper’s land­mark.

“It was a tough game against a re­ju­ve­nated MK Dons side who were un­beaten in their last three games with ‘new man­ager syn­drome’,” said Ed­in­burgh.

“It is a dif­fi­cult time to face them, but as of late we’ve been good at home, and it was an all­round per­for­mance.

“It was a game-chang­ing save, a match-win­ning save. Stuart had his 200th (Gilling­ham) game on Mon­day, which wasn’t how he would have wanted to cel­e­brate it. But he has been a main­stay be­hind our calm­ness and this re­vival.

“We spoke at half­time about need­ing to get mo­men­tum. We didn’t come out quite as we would have liked but we are a dan­ger from set-pieces and the goal was a great header from Cody.”

A largely tepid first half saw Bradley Dack’s header cleared off the visi­tors’ line by Dean Lew­ing­ton.

MK Dons could have stolen ahead in firsthalf in­jury time when Paul Konch­esky brought down Kieran Agard just inside the Gilling­ham box, but Nel­son – who had dived the other way – saved Bowditch’s penalty with his trail­ing foot.

Gilling­ham came out stronger in the sec­ond half, and earned a 64th-minute lead as a Bradley Dack cross from deep picked out the un­marked McDon­ald, who headed in. Dons boss Rob­bie Neil­son suf­fered his first loss since tak­ing charge but ad­mits his side could not have many com­plaints.

“I was dis­ap­pointed with the out­come of the game,” said Neil­son. “It was a tight game with com­bat­ive teams, and we did ac­tu­ally cause them prob­lems, but we didn’t do it enough.

“Once you go a goal down you need to take your chances.

“It’s a dis­ap­point­ing re­sult but the pos­i­tives are there, and af­ter three tough games we can hope­fully carry it through.”

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