REPORT: Gillingham 1-0 MK Dons: Dons pay the penalty for a missed spot kick
Dean Bowditch missed a first half penalty as Gillingham stopped MK Dons making it three wins in a week on Saturday, winning 1-0 at Priestfield.
Bowditch, having scored two in two heading into the game, saw his spot kick saved on the stroke of half time, as Dons were subsequently punished when Cody McDonald's header found the net with 18 minutes to go.
After midweek's extra time FA Cup win over Charlton, Robbie Neilson reverted to the side which beat AFC Wimbledon. Back came David Martin, Samir Carruthers, Ben Reeves and Kieran Agard, while Nicky Maynard was back on the bench after month out with a hamstring injury.
There wasn't much to tell between the sides in the opening half hour. Former Dons loanee Jay Emmanuel-Thomas has been Gillingham's top scorer this season, but playing out on the right flank, everything the home side tried began with him as he towered over George B Williams at full back. Bradley Dack too looked a livewire and almost turned provider for Cody McDonald, but his shot cannoned off Paul Downing.
At the other end, Downing nearly opened the scoring when Samir Carruthers' free kick whipped across the face of goal, with the centre back inches away from converting at the far post.
The game, bitty and a messy on the whole, but Dons were gifted a chance of taking the lead on the stroke of half time. Veteran defender Paul Konchesky bundled in the back of Kieran Agard, leaving referee Brett Huxtable no choice but to award the spot kick. Dean Bowditch though would see the penalty saved by Stuart Nelson.
Dons were dealt a blow early in the second half when George Baldock pulled up holding his left hamstring and had to be replaced by Jack Hendry, who rather than play in the middle, slotted in where Baldock had left.
The half was very much the same as the first, with neither side really in the ascendency, and neither keeper called into action at either end.
With chances few and far between, it looked more and more likely that one goal would settle it for either side, and it came for the home side with 18 minutes to go as Cody McDonald headed Dack's corner back across Martin.
Hendry, whose initial mistake gave away the corner, then almost gifted Gillingham another when he passed straight to Josh Wright who raced clear, but his strike was poor and easy for Martin to gather.
While Dons huffed and puffed, they struggled to create anything in the closing stages, never really sparking a fight back.
Referee: Brett HuxtableAttendance: 5,632 (350)
Gillingham: Nelson, Ehmer, Wagstaff, Hessenthaler, McDonald, Konchesky, Cargill, Dack, Wright, Nouble (Jackson 78), Emmanuel-ThomasSubs not used: Hadler, Oshilaja, Donnelly, Oldaker, Cundle, Byrne
MK Dons: Martin, GB Williams, Lewington, Downing, Baldock (Hendry 53), Upson, Potter, Carruthers, Reeves, Agard (Colclough 79), Bowditch (Maynard 64)Subs not used: Nicholls, GC Williams, Powell, Aneke
Booked: Wagstaff, McDonald, Konchesky, Carruthers, Potter, Lewington