Top-scorer Ade Akinbiyi scored twice as Gillingham underlined their Second Division promotion credentials with an impressive victory over Fulham at the Priestfield Stadium this afternoon.

Ray Wilkins handed former England legend Peter Beardsley his Fulham debut but the big-spenders’ firepower failed to trouble a well-drilled Gillingham defence despite the visitors making the stronger start. Paul Peschisolido and Paul Moody couldn’t take presentable chances inside the first half an hour and the lively Akinbiyi made the Whites pay by powering the home side ahead with a left-footed finish from Paul Smith’s pass on 32 minutes.

Akinboyi and Leo Fortune-West were thorns in Fulham’s side all afternoon posing real problems for Welsh internationals Chris Coleman and Alan Neilson. Fortune-West was denied a goal of his own by a brilliant Maik Taylor save but he turned provider in stoppage time, setting up Akinbiyi’s eighteenth goal of a superb season that put this contest well beyond the visitors.

GILLINGHAM (4-4-2): Bartram; Patterson, Bryant, Pennock, Ashby; P. Smith, Southall, Corbett (Butler 57), Galloway; Fortune-West, Akinbiyi. Subs (not used): Green, Thomas.

BOOKED: P. Smith, Pennock.

GOALS: Akinbiyi (32, 90).

FULHAM (4-4-2): Taylor; N. Smith (Brazier 60), Lawrence, Neilson, Coleman; Bracewell, Hayward, Trollope (Brooker 79), Beardsley; Moody, Peschisolido (Thorpe 73).

BOOKED: Brazier.

REFEREE: Paul Taylor (Hertfordshire).