Two of the youngest squads in Sky Bet League One went head to head on a chilly evening in deepest Kent, with Steve Evans seeing his side emerge as the victors at Priestfield.
The contest got underway with a bang as the home side took the lead with just three minutes on the clock as Kyle Dempsey finished well after being played in by Jordan Graham after Alex Woodyard was dispossessed easily midway inside the Wimbledon half.
Graham was a constant menace for the Gills down the right hand side in the opening stages, with Steve Seddon and Daniel Csoka being given the collective runaround.
After falling behind and largely spending the first 15 minutes on the back foot, Wimbledon were soon back on level terms as new boy Ben Heneghan glanced home from a whipped cross by Callum Reilly to equalise.
Wimbledon’s recovery after going behind early on was impressive, with the midfield three really starting to dictate proceedings.
Heading into the second period and there was an early change for the visitors as Daniel Csoka was replaced by Terell Thomas – with the latter offering more of an attacking threat going forwards from one of the wide centre back berths.
Soon enough there was a good chance for Wimbledon as Ryan Longman’s header was well tipped over by Jack Bonham in the Gillingham goal.
Steve Evans and Glyn Hodges patrolled their respective technical areas in the Kent cold down below, with both barking out orders at every opportunity to their charges.
The latter of the two manager’s will have been happy with the way his side started the second-half, with a series of diagonal balls causing problems for the Gillingham backline early on.
However it was the home side who would go ahead once again on 57 minutes as Dominic Samuel smashed home unmarked from a well delivered Connor Ogilvie cross from the left hand side.
It was then almost three for the Kent club as Dempsey threatened to double his tally, with the midfielder crashing a well struck free kick off the Wimbledon woodwork with Connal Trueman stranded.
Jack Rudoni was swiftly introduced for the away side, with the Wimbledon academy graduate making a good impression for the Dons, finding pockets of space in and around the box on many occasions.
And it was the diminutive playmaker who was involved in a good chance for Wimbledon, as Rudoni found space after being picked out in the box by fellow substitute Ollie Palmer, with the resulting volley being well saved before Bonham got down well again to deny Palmer on the follow up.
It was then the Gills who went down the other end and fashioned a chance of their own as Samuel forced a good save out of Trueman after a good counter attack.
Late Wimbledon pressure resulted in very little as the away side’s best chance came and went with another substitute, Will Nightingale heading wide after being found free in the six yard box when it looked easier to score.
The game finished 2-1 to the hosts, with the result leaving the Gills and Dons in 15th and 13th of the league standings after what was a well fought encounter between the two sides.