Published: 16:41, 02 February 2019
| Updated: 19:07, 02 February 2019
Tom Eaves scored a stoppage-time penalty to rescue a point for the Gills at Coventry.
Bright Enobakhre had put the Sky Blues ahead midway through the second half with a goal on the break.
The hosts were denied maximum points though as keeper Lee Burge fouled Brandon Hanlan in the box and Eaves converted.
Callum Reilly was expected to feature, having missed the last two games with injury, but was again absent from the squad. Of the five new signings made by the Gills prior to the game, just one started, with forward Graham Burke involved from the off.
The lure of £5 tickets ensured it was a bumper crowd at the Ricoh Arena for their community day, with their attendance swelled with 12,000 free tickets handed out locally.
Gills’ newcomer Burke was lively but it was Gills’ leading scorer Tom Eaves who went closest in the first half, denied only by a stunning reflex save from keeper Lee Burge, getting down well to block a header. Elliott List’s follow-up was blocked.
It was end to end at times and shortly after Eaves had been denied, List’s low cross found Hanlan but he couldn’t find the target.
Coventry’s build-up play was impressive but at times over-elaborate and for all of their passing and movement, Gills keeper Tomas Holy wasn’t overly worked. His best save came at his near post to block an angled effort from Dujon Sterling.
Jordan Shipley had several chances for the hosts but both Barry Fuller and Gabriel Zakuani got behind two of his shots while another one was fired over after a great passing move from back to front for City.
Towards the end of the half the Gills had a handful of chances, Burke firing over, Eaves curling an effort wide and Hanlan doing likewise on the break.
Zakuani had to be alert early in the second half, making blocks from Sterling and Thomas. Fuller also threw his body behind a shot from Shipley to keep the hosts out and Bright Enobakhare could only find a Gills player as he too looked to shoot.
Home substitute Amadou Bakayoko tried his luck but Zakuani was there again to make a block and with the ball looping goalwards, Holy helped it out of play.
Coventry took a 69th minute lead with a move started and finished by Enobakhre. He nicked the ball past Fuller, counter attacking from a Gills throw, before picking out the run of Bakayoko and when his shot was saved by Holy, Enobakhre was there to fire home.
Bakayoko had a glorious chance to seal with points with six minutes left after Ogilvie had lost out in a tussle with Thomas but with only Holy to beat he somehow shot wide.
Gillingham’s chance to level came from the penalty spot after Burge took Hanlan down inside the box. There was a lengthy delay to treat injured keeper Burge but Eaves got to his feet to strike low and level the scores.
Gillingham: Holy, Fuller, Ogilvie (King 87mins), Zakuani, Ehmer, Byrne, Rees, Hanlan, List (Lopes 71mins), Burke, Eaves.Subs not used: Hadler, O’Neill, Charles-Cook, Oldaker, Campbell.
Coventry City: Burge, Willis, Meyler (Bakayoko 60mins), Hiwula, Hyam, Sterling, Thomas, Enobakhare (Wakefield 90mins), Westbrooke (Bayliss 67mins), Shipley, McCallum. Subs not used: Addai, Grimmer, Davies, Chaplin.
More by this authorLuke Cawdell