October maintains Town's winning start to pre-season
The teenage defender, nicknamed Rocco and in his first year as a pro, rifled in at the far post from Elliott Hewitt’s cross.
David McGoldrick opened the scoring for Town with his second goal of the pre-season campaign.
The frontman scored from the penalty spot in last week’s win at Crawley and it was from another set-piece that he found the net, albeit much further out.
Cody McDonald cancelled out McGoldrick’s strike early in the second-half in what was a competitive 90 minutes against the 2012/13 League Two champions.
Town’s three trialists – Frederic Veseli, Titus Bramble and Bongani Khumalo -were all included in the starting line-up, taking up three of the back four positions – Tyrone Mings in at left-back with Aaron Cresswell absent with a thigh injury completing the defence.
McGoldrick had a chance to open the scoring before he did, just failing to get on the end of a terrific cross from Swiss U21 international Veseli.
Frank Nouble tested Stuart Nelson in the home goal with a low shot from the edge of the box after being set up by Jay Tabb before Blues got the breakthrough on 22 minutes. McGoldrick was brought down by Bradley Dack 30 yards from goal. The summer signing from Forest took the free-kick himself and curled the ball around the wall and into the bottom corner of Nelson’s net.
It took a fantastic save from the Gillingham ‘keeper to stop Blues extending the lead two minutes later, Nelson throwing himself to his left to beat out Nouble’s close range effort.
Nelson took centre stage again just past the half hour mark, first denying McGoldrick after the ball had fallen to the Town striker from Nouble’s shot, then reacting quickly to stop the follow-up effort from Paul Anderson.
Town made just the one change at half-time, Elliott Hewitt replacing Veseli but only 10 seconds after the restart Martin Allen’s team were level, Cody McDonald calmly beating Scott Loach from Dack’s pass.
Gills enjoyed a spell of pinball around the Town goal and Loach had to be alert to keep out Steven Gregory’s strike, Nouble then bursting clear at the other end but dragging his shot wide.
McGoldrick couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet after weaving into the box as chances continued to be created at either end in an entertaining encounter for pre-season combat.
The former Southampton striker went close again just past the hour mark, his overhead kick going just over following a flowing Town move.
Michael Chopra and Daryl Murphy formed the Blues’ strikeforce for the last 20 minutes as both teams shuffled their pack, Bramble and Khumalo among the several players to make way with only Dean Gerken of the travelling Town squad remaining on the bench.
Chopra was immediately in the action, seeing a free-kick deflected wide, then volleying just past Nelson’s left hand post before October won it for Blues with the last kick of the game.
Town are back in action again on Saturday when Mick McCarthy takes his side to Barnet.
Town: Loach, Veseli (Hewitt 46), Mings (October 79), Bramble (Chambers 71), Khumalo (Smith 71), Wordsworth (Skuse 71), Anderson (Hammond 71), Hyam (Lawrence 79), Tabb (Carson 79, Nouble (Chopra 66), McGoldrick (Murphy 66). Sub not used: Gerken.