ROTHERHAM United took a huge step towards play-off qualification with this win over Gillingham last night.
Midfielder Will Vaulks netted his first goal of the calendar year as the Millers all but secured a top-six spot at Priestfield.
Manager Paul Warne named an unchanged starting line-up after holding leaders Wigan to a goalless draw at the weekend.
The Gills looked threatening from set pieces as they tried to use their height up front, but Millers almost took the lead with their first attack of the game.
Former Barnsley man Ryan Williams broke away and worked his way past Tomas Holy only to fire into the side netting.
The hosts threatened with Luke O’Neill heading Conor Wilkinson’s teasing cross over before the visitors found the side netting again after Ben Purrington took advantage of Holy’s hesitation.
Gillingham’s Callum Reilly went down inside the box, but referee Dean Whitestone waved away the claims for a spot-kick before Rotherham finally broke through in the 20th minute.
They did it with a well-worked goal with Michael Smith holding the ball up neatly before teeing Vaulks up to blast past Holy.
Gills thought they had equalised, but Josh Parker’s 25th-minute header was ruled offside.
Just after the break Richard Wood met Jon Taylor’s cross only to head against a sprawling defender just shy of the goalline.
The Gills pushed for an equaliser, but could not create a clear-cut chance to test Marek Rodek.
Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill, Ehmer, Zakuani (Nugent 24), Ogilvie (Eaves 52), Wagstaff, Hessenthaler, Byrne, Reilly, Wilkinson, Parker. Unused substitutes: List, Stevenson, Nasseri, Hadler, Nash.
Rotherham United: Rodak, Emmanuel, Wood, Ihiekwe, Purrington, Towell (Ajayi 65), Vaulks, Palmer, Taylor (Forde 77), Smith (Lavery 80), Williams. Unused substitutes: Price, Newell, Cummings, Ball.
Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northants).