John Marquis scores on his home debut to help guide Gillingham to a 3-1 victory over Coventry at PriestfieldThree goals in the last 10 minutes gave Gillingham their first win of the 2015 calendar year after a 3-1 victory over Coventry City at Priestfield.
Gary Madine put the visitors in front on 35 minutes via the penalty spot, and with the game approaching the closing stages it looked like Steven Pressley’s men may clinch maximum points.
However the Gills refused to give in and on loan striker John Marquis levelled things up on 82 minutes with a smart effort from close range, before Cody McDonald converted a pressure spot kick shortly after to put the hosts in the driving seat.
Coventry pushed for an equalizer but Jermaine McGlashan put the result beyond doubt with a superb right footed finish from a difficult angle inside the box.
The management team made three changes to the side that lost at Crewe with debutant Bradley Garmston, John Egan and Josh Pritchard replacing the injured Josh Hare, Leon Legge and McGlashan.
Coventry had more of the ball in the opening stages but Gillingham very nearly seized the initiative on nine minutes. A cross from Garmston was met by Dack; he managed to hold up the ball where McDonald was waiting to pounce.
His left foot shot was well saved by Allsop before the keeper was immediately to his feet deny the follow up from Marquis.
Gills had the better of the next 10 minutes and a moment of improvisation nearly sparked the opening goal. With the hosts having had a succession of corner kicks, the ball sat up well just in front of Hessenthaler and he tried his luck with an overhead kick which struck the top of the bar before being dealt with.
On 35 minutes however the visitors took control with Danny Swanson finding his way past Garmston before Pritchard made contact with the forward, he went down and the referee didn’t hesitate in pointing to the spot.
Madine stepped up and sent Stuart Nelson the wrong way to put the Sky Blues in front.
They nearly made it two before the interval, however the returning Simeon Jackson dragged his shot beyond the far post as Hoyte attempted to track back.
Gills didn’t make any changes at the break but burst out of the traps, a couple of corner kicks were well defended before an effort by Pritchard narrowly cleared the right hand post.
Jackson was unable to take advantage of a poor pass back from Loft prior to Pritchard blazing a shot over the bar from inside the 18-yard box.
Gillingham dominated the possession statistics but struggled to create any clear cut opportunities. Hoyte delivered a cross for Marquis which he headed just over the bar before a second effort minutes later, touched on by Egan, was also put wide by the striker.
However the hosts patient build up play deservedly paid off on 82 minutes when Marquis positioned himself well inside the box, Allsop parried out an initial effort and the forward didn’t need a second invitation to score on his home debut.
Priestfield responded to the goal and Gillingham immediately went in search of a second, and found it on 88 minutes. McGlashan, on for Pritchard, was instrumental in turning the game on its head and he received the ball on the wing before driving for the box.
Ryan Haynes made contact with the player and the midfielder hit the deck – McDonald took on the responsibility of putting the Gills in front and his penalty was inch perfect with Allsop nowhere near the effort.
The Sky Blues responded and tried to find a way back into the game, but McGlashan all but clinched the points when he found the roof of the net with a clinical strike from inside the penalty area.
As a result Gills climb out of the relegation places to 19th, just a point behind Coventry.
Gills: Nelson, Hoyte, Egan, Ehmer, Garmston (Dickenson 84), Pritchard (McGlashan 70), Hessenthaler, Dack, Loft, Marquis, McDonald.
Unused subs: G Morris, Legge, Romeo, Galbraith, Norris.
Coventry: Allsop, Wilis, Webster, Thomas (Barton 67), Fleck, Madine, Swanson (Finch 81), Jackson (Miller 77), Nouble, Martin, Haynes.
Unused subs: Burge, Lawton, Kelly Evans, Thomas
Referee: Mr J Linington
Attendance: 5141 (481 Coventry)