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Coventry City 1 Gillingham 0 - match report

Former Gills loanee Frank Nouble takes a tumble but scored the only goal as Coventry edged Friday's clash at the Ricoh Arena Picture: Barry Goodwin
Former Gills loanee Frank Nouble takes a tumble but scored the only goal as Coventry edged Friday's clash at the Ricoh Arena Picture: Barry Goodwin

Gillingham were unable to spoil the party at the Ricoh Arena on Friday night.

Coventry won the game but didn’t have it all their own way as the Gills looked for a way back in after conceding early.

The hosts had taken a 10 minute lead through former Gills loanee Frank Nouble.

The Gills remained in the game right until the last kick.

Visiting boss Peter Taylor made five changes to the team which started Tuesday’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy match at Stevenage.

A surprise absentee was leading scorer Danny Kedwell.

Former Coventry player Cody McDonald was named captain against his former team.

Gillingham were playing infront of the Sky Sports TV cameras but they and the national press were there to see Coventry.

The Sky Blues were back at the Ricoh Arena after ending a rent row with the stadium’s owners which had seen them playing home games in Northampton for over a year.

A huge home crowd turned out to see their team back in the City. Such was the demand to see the game that kick-off was delayed due to problems getting the fans in.

Making his home debut for Coventry was Nouble, who scored five goals in 13 league appearances for the Gills in the 2011/12 season.

Gillingham’s first priority was to keep an excited home crowd quiet but, despite a positive opening few exchanges, the hosts went ahead inside 10 minutes.

Ryan Haynes exposed the Gills down their right and his cross was tucked home by Nouble.

Jim O’Brien’s early acrobatic effort had gone wide and Conor Thomas also fired a shot into the arms of keeper Stephen Bywater.

In the early stages the hosts were well in command. Towards the end of the half the Gills grew more confident but were unable to translate that into goals. They were always wary, however, of being caught off-guard by the hosts.

Gills defender Kortney Hause came close to levelling 10 minutes into the second half, with a header that flew just over from a corner.

The visitors had ended the first half well and were determined to play a part in the evening. John Egan had a chance from another corner, his effort deflecting wide.

Coventry’s John Fleck almost caught Bywater off guard on 65 minutes, with an audacious lob from the wing, but the keeper did just enough to save.

At the other end another Egan header went badly wide as the visitors continued to threaten.

McDonald put an effort into the side netting for Gills with five minutes left. An inviting cross from sub Antonio German looked like it could lead to the equaliser but nobody got on the end of it.

Gillingham: Bywater, Martin, Egan, Hause, Hessenthaler, McDonald, McGlashan (German 85mins), A Morris, Davies (Norris 75mins), Dack, Dickenson (Pritchard 75mins). Subs not used: G Morris, Linganzi, McKain, Fish.

Coventry: Allsop, Clarke, Willis, Webster, Johnson, Haynes, Thomas (Finch 89mins), Fleck, O'Brien, Tudgay (Hines 89mins), Nouble (McQuoid 59mins). Subs not used: Burge, Pugh, Phillips, Coulibaly.

Attendance: 27,306 (495 Gills)

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