In-form Matt Smith scored all four goals in Bristol City's 4-2 victory at Gillingham in the first leg of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Southern Area Final.Cody McDonald's fourth goal in five games gave the Gills the lead after six minutes as the striker latched onto Michael Doughty's through ball to fire past Frank Fielding.
City, twice winners of the competition, drew level after 18 minutes when Smith headed in at the front post following good play by Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.
The duo combined again for the visitors' second as Smith somehow connected with Emmanuel-Thomas' deep cross to convert.
The on-loan Fulham striker sealed his first career hat-trick five minutes into the second half with a brilliant back-flick.
McDonald pulled one back for the Gills with a powerful effort straight from a goal kick before Smith, who had forced two brilliant saves out of goalkeeper Stuart Nelson from point-blank range, hit a spectacular volley from 25 yards.
This was City's third victory at Priestfield this season, having previously won in Sky Bet League 1 and FA Cup.