Bob Taylor headed in a late winner as Gillingham claimed an injury-time victory over Fulham on a highly charged afternoon at the Priestfield Stadium.

The late drama was the last thing that the local police wanted with tensions still raw after the death of lifelong Fulham fan Matthew Fox in the aftermath of this fixture last season. Gillingham’s matchday programme elected to ignore the incident entirely and the Fox family turned down the offer of a minute’s silence – unsure as to whether that would remove toxicity from the afternoon or raise the temperature unintentionally.

At the end of all, Gillingham dealt the contrasting emotions of the occasion better. They treated this like the local derby it almost is and dominated proceedings, with Kevin Keegan swiftly regretting his decision to leave the experienced Paul Bracewell out of his midfield. Taylor will hope his late header from John Hodge’s cross will help to win over the home fans after a difficult campaign with Gilllingham – his fourth goal in nineteen starts certainly cheered manager Tony Pulis.

He had missed the two best chances that came Gillingham’s way – clipping the crossbar with a header and then nodding wide when well placed. By contrast, Fulham struggled with to play their usual fluid, football on a poignant afternoon for everyone connected with the club. Their strikers were marked out of the game and the Whites were restricted to largely long-range efforts.

Keegan admitted afterwards: “We didn’t really play well enough. We were poor up front and we missed Bracewell. But I didn’t pick him, so it’s my fault.”

GILLINGHAM (4-4-2): Bartram; Galloway, Edge (Nosworthy 16, Hodge 73), Ashby, Carr; Hessenthaler, Pennock, Southall, P. Smith; Asaba, R. Taylor. Subs (not used): Stannard.

BOOKED: Hessenthaler, Ashby, Southall, Carr.

GOAL: R. Taylor (90).

FULHAM (4-3-3): M. Taylor; Finnan, Brevett, Symons, Coleman; Morgan, N. Smith, Trollope; Peschisolido, Horsfield, Hayles. Subs (not used): Uhlenbeek, Hayward, Beardsley.

BOOKED: Peschisolido, Morgan.

REFEREE: Kevin Lynch (Knaresborough).