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Coventry City 2 Gillingham 1 – League 1 match report


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Bottom club Coventry piled on the misery for Gillingham.

Saturday’s loss extended their winless to 10 games and further increases the threat of relegation from League 1.

It’s seven games now since Ady Pennock took charge and he’s still looking for a first win.

Callum Reilly in action for Coventry against the Gills last season Picture: Barry Goodwin
Callum Reilly in action for Coventry against the Gills last season Picture: Barry Goodwin

Coventry – without a league victory in 15 before the weekend - scored two goals in the space of five first-half minutes.

Defender Max Ehmer netted his seventh of the season after the turnaround to give Gills hope, but there was to be no comeback.

The two teams were fighting for promotion on Gills’ last visit to the Ricoh but much has changed since November 2015. A sparse crowd inside Coventry’s vast stadium were this time witnessing a relegation scrap.

Defeat for Gillingham drags them further into the mire.

Gillingham were missing Scott Wagstaff through injury, replaced in midfield by Mark Byrne, for a rare start.

The Gills were without a win in nine and arrived at Coventry after a last-gasp goal in midweek led to a draw against Chesterfield and some scathing criticism from boss Ady Pennock.

Bottom side Coventry were put under early pressure from the Gills but it was the home side who struck first. A cross from Ryan Haynes was helped across the face of goal by Marcus Tudgay and into the path of Kwame Thomas, getting between two defenders before bundling the ball home into an empty net.

It got worse for the Gills five minutes later when a speculative shot from Andy Rose found George Thomas lurking 10 yards out, he turned and then had a simple finish past Stuart Nelson.

Tudgay nearly made it three moments leader, heading a free header just wide.

A large section of the travelling support made their feelings known, with chants of “we want our money back” coming from the away end.

Gillingham struggled to make much impact in attack, leaving home keeper Lee Burge having to just mop up a few times. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’ low shot went close but Josh Wright’s later effort was well over.

Pennock’s men, who hadn’t registered a shot on target in the opening half, went off at the break with chants of “what a load of rubbish” ringing in their ears.

There were two attacking changes at the break as Josh Parker and Lee Martin were introduced for Cody McDonald and Emmanuel-Thomas but it was centre-back Ehmer who got the Gills back in it.

His 55th-minute goal came after Bradley Dack’s corner was knocked down by Parker. The defender squeezed the ball home at the near post.

Martin forced sub keeper Reice Charles-Cook – on for the injured Burge - into making a save with an hour gone.

Gillingham were much more of an attacking threat in the second half and Dack forced the home keeper into a save, punching clear at full stretch.

Wright was crowded out when he looked to pull the trigger as chances kept falling for the Gills.

The Gills were left exposed when committing men forward, however, and Nelson first saved from Yakubu before pulling off a stunning point-blank stop to deny Jodi Jones.

Byrne had a shot deflected wide in stoppage-time but the equaliser failed to materialise.

Coventry: Burge (Charles-Cook 46mins), Turnbull, Rose, Clarke, Reilly, K Thomas (Yakubu 70mins), Foley, Haynes, G Thomas (Jones 66mins), Kelly-Evans, Tudgay. Subs not used: Bigirimana, Reid, Rawson, Lameiras.

Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson, Herd (Garmston 68mins), Ehmer, Oshilaja, Byrne, Wright, Dack, Emmanuel-Thomas (Martin 46mins), Donnelly, McDonald (Parker 46mins). Subs not used: List, Holy, Hessenthaler, Osadebe.

Attendance: 8,718 (582 away)

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