Mark Byrne bags brace as Gillingham ease past Bristol Rovers
Gillingham claimed their first home league victory in three months by thrashing Bristol Rovers 4-1 at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
Following Joe Partington’s foul on former Bristol City midfielder Scott Wagstaff, Mark Byrne saw his penalty saved by Rovers goalkeeper Adam Smith but tapped home the rebound to open the scoring for the Gills.
Defender Alex Lacey doubled the hosts’ advantage eight minutes before half-time, capping a surging forward run with a curled finish from 15 yards.
Josh Parker capitalised on dreadful Rovers defending to poke home his side’s third, 90 seconds after the break.
Byrne sealed their victory with his second after 53 minutes with the goal of the game, hitting a first-time volley into the top corner from Lee Martin’s corner.
However, the Irish midfielder missed the chance to score his first career hat-trick in the 65th minute, shooting wide from the penalty spot following Smith’s clumsy foul on Wagstaff.
Liam Sercombe scored a stoppage-time consolation for Rovers, curling into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.