A stirring second-half display by AFC Wimbledon made League Two leaders look ordinary at Kingsmeadow, but the lack of a cutting edge meant Romain Vincelot’s first-half snapshot put Gillingham five points clear at the top.
The match, in front of a full house including nearly 1,000 travelling fans, was a typical game of two halves, but while Vincelot’s cutting drive in the 23rd minute left home keeper Seb Brown with no chance, opposing keeper Stuart Nelson was equal to everything the Dons threw at him after the break.
Wimbledon were unable to create a chance in the first half. While Gillingham were equally edgy, they settled into their stride and could have gone ahead in the 10th minute when Ben Strevens angled a cross from former Don Danny Kedwell just wide.
Kedwell was determined to prove his worth against the team he helped into the Football League, and produced a pinpoint cross minutes later that the lively Myles Weston powered a header goalwards from. Brown was equal to his effort, tipping it round the post.
The Gillingham pressure continued, although a few chances followed. After Vincelot’s opportune effort squirmed into the corner following a Kedwell flick-on, the Gills dictated much of the play. Right back Matt Fish went closest, angling a drive towards the Wimbledon net that Brown again was equal to.
Yet the Dons showed much more resolve as an attacking unit after the break, led by the impressive George Francomb. On three occasions he hit powerful drives towards the top corner of the Gillingham net; twice Nelson was equal to the effort, the third flew agonisingly wide.
Spurred on by Francomb’s efforts and the substitution of Stacy Long for the more attack-minded Luke Moore, Wimbledon dominated the second period. Rashid Yusseff, Steven Gregory and Yado Mambo all saw long-range efforts narrowly go wide, while Byron Harrison had comfortably the best chance, shooting narrowly wide when being guarded one-on-one by Yusseff.
Yet time ran out on the Dons, and Neal Ardley suffered his second home defeat as a league manager. However, there were plenty of positives for the home side, with Gillingham feeling lucky to have robbed all three points.
AFC Wimbledon: Brown, Osano, Haynes-Brown (Jolley), Yusseff, Mambo, Antwi, Long (Moore), Gregory, Harrison, Midson, Francomb
Attendance 4,546 (836 from Gillingham)
Adam Harwood is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise stated all quotes are sourced directly.