Chesterfield powered their way towards the Plays Off with an emphatic win this evening.
They left the Kent side in their wake after the importance of the game had been drilled into the players by manager Paul Cook, who had said prior to kick off: “Our season hinges on this game. It’s a must-win.”
Chesterfield moved into eighth spot in League One.
They had been without loanee striker Caolan Lavery after he was recalled by Sheffeld Wednesday.
Defender Drew Talbot played after being recalled from a loan at Plymouth however midfielder Sam Morsy sat out a ban.
The home side were quick off the mark. Midfielder Sam Lucas cut in from the right and bent home a cracking goal after just three minutes.
Jay O’Shea added another eight minutes later. He directed a right footed shot home after good work from Gary Roberts.
Barnsley-born Talbot endeared himself to the Spireites’ fans with some decisive contributions, playing from a left back position.
The Gills almost got one back, on 27 minutes when young striker John Marquis’s header was on its way in until Sam Hird hooked it clear.
Then O’Shea and Bradley Dack had chances at opposite ends, before the first half drew to a close.
Jimmy Ryan had home fans anxious when the lost the ball close to goal, but Doug Loft’s effort was stopped by Tommy Lee.
The visitors made three changes as they tried to wrestle control of the game.
With nine minutes left, O’Shea squandered a chance to make it three, smashing the ball over the bar.
But Clucas put the match beyond doubt.
The 24-year-old sent a right footer through Stuart Nelson’s legs on 88 minutes.
And he could have sealed a hat-trick at the death.
Chesterfield: Lee; Darikwa, Hird, Evatt, Talbot; Ryan, Banks; O’Shea, Roberts, Ariyibi; Clucas.
Subs: Chapman, Carter, Humphreys, Jones, Raglan, Onovwigun, Dieseruvwe.
Gillingham: Nelson, Martin, Egan, Ehmer, Loft, A.Morris, Muldoon, Dack, Hoyte, Marquis, McDonald.
Subs: G.Morris, Legge, Hessenthaler, McGlashan, Galbraith, Norris, Dickenson.
Ref: Gary Sutton (Lincs.)
Attendance: 4,804 (179)