Darius Charles scored twice as Stevenage beat Gillingham to close the gap to safety to two points.

Elliott Hewitt was sent off for handling Francois Zoko's shot and the Stevenage striker scored from the spot for his 14th goal of the season.

Charles met Luke Freeman's cross to put the hosts 2-0 up, before Cody McDonald converted Connor Smith's through ball to reduce the deficit.

A close-range finish from Charles ensured Stevenage a vital victory.

Lucas Akins came close to making it 4-1 but saw his header come back off the crossbar, while McDonald hit the post at the other end.

Stevenage stay bottom of the table on 25 points, but move a point behind 23rd-placed Sheffield United, with Notts County, Shrewsbury and Bristol City, who lost at home to Coventry, on 27 points.

VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Gillingham manager Peter Taylor told BBC Radio Kent:

"I'm very proud of the players for the way they kept going as it was a difficult evening.

"It was a disappointing first goal for us as it wasn't good defending and then you get a man sent off as early as that.

"It was the correct decision by the referee and the wrong decision from Elliott. Elliott should have let it go in as at that early stage if it goes in you have still got 11 men and time to recover."

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (5)

Stevenage

  • 16 Day
  • 11 Akins
  • 29 Hartley
  • 13 Parrett (Doughty - 63' )
  • 06 Jones Booked
  • 08 Mousinho (Deacon - 74' )
  • 15 Freeman
  • 20 Smith
  • 12 Zoko (Andrade - 63' )
  • 09 Charles Booked
  • 14 Heslop

Substitutes

  • 02 Wedgbury
  • 10 Burrow
  • 24 Doughty
  • 25 Andrade
  • 26 Smith
  • 28 N'Guessan
  • 34 Deacon

Gillingham

  • 01 Nelson
  • 03 Martin
  • 29 Hewitt Dismissed
  • 15 Dack
  • 05 Davies
  • 06 Legge
  • 12 Gregory Booked
  • 19 Smith Booked
  • 10 McDonald
  • 08 Akinfenwa (Harriman - 45' )
  • 31 Hessenthaler (Fagan - 72' )

Substitutes

  • 11 Weston
  • 18 Lee
  • 23 Harriman
  • 26 Barrett
  • 27 Fagan
  • 32 Pigott
  • 35 Baxter
Ref: Stuart Attwell
Att: 2,399

Match Stats

Shots

9 10

On target

4 4

Corners

9 5

Fouls

7 17

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Stevenage 3, Gillingham 1.

90:00 +4:24 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Stevenage 3, Gillingham 1.

90:00 +4:06

Michael Doughty (Stevenage) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +4:06

Foul by Craig Fagan (Gillingham).

90:00 +0:58

Corner, Stevenage. Conceded by Michael Harriman.

88:05

Bruno Andrade (Stevenage) wins a free kick on the left wing.

88:05

Foul by Bradley Dack (Gillingham).

86:21 Booking

Booking Darius Charles (Stevenage) is shown the yellow card.

86:17

Foul by Darius Charles (Stevenage).

86:17

Michael Harriman (Gillingham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

85:35

Roarie Deacon (Stevenage) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

85:35

Foul by Craig Fagan (Gillingham).

82:42

Simon Heslop (Stevenage) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

82:42

Foul by Craig Fagan (Gillingham).

82:10

Attempt missed. Cody McDonald (Gillingham) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

79:11

Peter Hartley (Stevenage) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

78:54 Booking

Booking Connor Smith (Gillingham) is shown the yellow card.

78:54

Foul by Connor Smith (Gillingham).

78:18

Foul by Luke Freeman (Stevenage).

78:18

Michael Harriman (Gillingham) wins a free kick on the left wing.

76:26

Corner, Gillingham. Conceded by Peter Hartley.

76:12

Attempt blocked. Bradley Dack (Gillingham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

76:02

Cody McDonald (Gillingham) hits the left post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box.

75:24

Lucas Akins (Stevenage) hits the bar with a header from very close range.

74:01

Peter Hartley (Stevenage) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

74:01

Foul by Craig Fagan (Gillingham).

73:21 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Stevenage. Roarie Deacon replaces John Mousinho.

73:09

Attempt missed. Lucas Akins (Stevenage) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right.

71:14 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Gillingham. Craig Fagan replaces Jake Hessenthaler.

67:43

Darius Charles (Stevenage) wins a free kick on the right wing.

67:43

Foul by Leon Legge (Gillingham).

65:39

Simon Heslop (Stevenage) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

65:39

Foul by Bradley Dack (Gillingham).

65:01

Attempt saved. Luke Freeman (Stevenage) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

64:26

Attempt saved. Cody McDonald (Gillingham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

63:55

Hand ball by Lucas Akins (Stevenage).

63:05

Bruno Andrade (Stevenage) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

63:05

Foul by Bradley Dack (Gillingham).

62:34 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Stevenage. Michael Doughty replaces Dean Parrett.

62:24 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Stevenage. Bruno Andrade replaces Francois Zoko.

59:00 Booking

Booking Steven Gregory (Gillingham) is shown the yellow card.

58:52 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Stevenage 3, Gillingham 1. Darius Charles (Stevenage) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner.

58:02

Lucas Akins (Stevenage) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

58:02

Foul by Connor Smith (Gillingham).

55:15 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Stevenage 2, Gillingham 1. Cody McDonald (Gillingham) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Connor Smith.

54:49

Attempt saved. Cody McDonald (Gillingham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

49:21

Attempt missed. Connor Smith (Gillingham) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

48:58

Attempt blocked. Cody McDonald (Gillingham) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

48:19 Booking

Booking Luke Jones (Stevenage) is shown the yellow card.

48:14

Foul by Luke Jones (Stevenage).

48:14

Bradley Dack (Gillingham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

47:20

Foul by Luke Freeman (Stevenage).

47:20

Jake Hessenthaler (Gillingham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

45:41

Corner, Stevenage. Conceded by Callum Davies.

45:00

Second Half begins Stevenage 2, Gillingham 0.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Gillingham. Michael Harriman replaces Adebayo Akinfenwa.

45:00 +2:01 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Stevenage 2, Gillingham 0.

45:00 +0:10

Foul by Francois Zoko (Stevenage).

45:00 +0:10

Bradley Dack (Gillingham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

42:38

Hand ball by Adebayo Akinfenwa (Gillingham).

39:09

Attempt saved. Cody McDonald (Gillingham) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.

35:59

Corner, Stevenage. Conceded by Connor Smith.

33:38

Corner, Stevenage. Conceded by Leon Legge.

31:48

Attempt missed. Luke Jones (Stevenage) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

31:19

Corner, Stevenage. Conceded by Joe Martin.

30:36

Corner, Stevenage. Conceded by Bradley Dack.

29:02 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Stevenage 2, Gillingham 0. Darius Charles (Stevenage) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Luke Freeman.

28:04

John Mousinho (Stevenage) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

28:04

Foul by Cody McDonald (Gillingham).

26:51

Darius Charles (Stevenage) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

26:51

Foul by Callum Davies (Gillingham).

23:28

Attempt missed. Cody McDonald (Gillingham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

21:33 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Stevenage 1, Gillingham 0. Francois Zoko (Stevenage) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the centre of the goal.

21:13 Dismissal

Dismissal Elliott Hewitt (Gillingham) is shown the red card for a bad foul.

21:00

Penalty conceded by Elliott Hewitt (Gillingham) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

19:50

Corner, Gillingham. Conceded by John Mousinho.

19:10

Corner, Gillingham. Conceded by Luke Freeman.

15:23

Darius Charles (Stevenage) wins a free kick on the left wing.

15:23

Foul by Connor Smith (Gillingham).

14:53

Hand ball by Bradley Dack (Gillingham).

13:33

Corner, Stevenage. Conceded by Joe Martin.

12:51

Francois Zoko (Stevenage) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

12:51

Foul by Joe Martin (Gillingham).

11:33

Corner, Gillingham. Conceded by John Mousinho.

8:36

Foul by Darius Charles (Stevenage).

8:36

Leon Legge (Gillingham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

7:14

Attempt missed. Luke Freeman (Stevenage) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

6:49

Corner, Stevenage. Conceded by Jake Hessenthaler.

6:38

Attempt blocked. Peter Hartley (Stevenage) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

5:59

Corner, Stevenage. Conceded by Callum Davies.

1:07

Corner, Gillingham. Conceded by Darius Charles.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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