COVENTRY CITY 2-1 GILLINGHAM: MATCH REPORT
Max Ehmer's second goal in as many games was not enough to prevent the Gills from losing 2-1 to Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday.
The Sky Blues scored twice in five first-half minutes through Kwame Thomas and George Thomas, before Ehmer’s goal and a spirited performance after the break almost earned the Gills an invaluable point in the West Midlands.
, with Chris Herd and Mark Byrne replacing Bradley Garmston and the injured Scott Wagstaff.midweek draw against ChesterfieldHead coach Ady Pennock made two changes from the
However City started the stronger of the sides, and striker Marcus Tudgay had the first chance of note after 11 minutes from a Ryan Haynes cross. Faced with a crowded area, goalkeeper Stuart Nelson had little choice but to punch the winger’s delivery clear, before Tudgay volleyed over from 20 yards.
Russell Slade’s men were in front just five minutes later. Tudgay met Dion Kelly-Evans’s cross at the back post, he headed the ball back across the goal to Kwame Thomas, who couldn’t miss from two yards.
On 20 minutes the Gills surged forward towards the travelling fans, looking for a quick equaliser. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’s long ball was chested down by Bradley Dack in the direction of the onrushing Byrne, however the midfielder was a yard ahead of the ball.
The Sky Blues doubled their advantage on 21 minutes through George Thomas. Andy Rose’s bobbling long-range shot fell fortuitously to the unmarked striker, who sloted the ball past Nelson from eight yards.
Tudgay headed just wide on 24 minutes, before Nelson made an excellent save to deny George Thomas nine minutes before the interval after the City man went through on goal.
Pennock made two changes for the restart, with Lee Martin and Josh Parker replacing Emmanuel-Thomas and Cody McDonald.
And it didn't take long for the Gills to get back in the game. After Parker headed Bradley Dack's deep corner towards the front post, Ehmer was in the right place at the right time to smash home his seventh goal of the season.
Martin was the first Gills player to probe for an equaliser but substitute goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook, who replaced Lee Burge at the break, got down well to smother his curling effort.
As the game entered its final quarter, the away side's pressure intensified. First, Martin had a fizzing shot blocked, then Rory Donnelly rose highest to head towards goal at the back post, which Charles-Cook coolly caught.
The Gills' Northern Irish striker, on his birthday, almost knocked Nathan Clarke's header back to the City goalkeeper into the net shortly after.
Byrne volleyed at Charles-Cook from 20 yards after a Gills corner was only half-cleared, before Dack nearly fired home after Martin's shot was nervously parried the Sky Blues stopper.
City had two late opportunities to put the game to bed; former Everton striker Yakubu broke down the right and crossed for Tudgay, but the striker blazed on 79 minutes. The former Premier League forward then forced Nelson into a save, shooting low on the turn from 10 yards.
With the home fans audibly sounding nervous after the fourth official indicated five minutes of added time, Parker had an excellent opportunity to grab a point right at the death. The ball fell at his feet within shooting distance, but the substitute appeared to mis-kick his effort before Byrne's attempt was deflected for a corner.
Coventry held on to take all three points, leaving the Gills just one point above the relegation places.
.hereThe Gills face AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium; full ticket details can be found
Burge (Charles-Cook 45), Turnbull, Rose, Clarke, Reilly, K. Thomas (Yakubu, 70), Foley, Haynes, G. Thomas (Jones, 66), Kelly-Evans, TudgayCoventry City:
Unused subs: Bigirimana, Reid, Rawson, Lameiras
Nelson, Oshilaja, Herd (Garmston, 68), Ehmer, Jackson, Wright, Dack, Byrne, Donnelly, McDonald (Parker, 45), Emmanuel-Thomas (Martin, 45)Gillingham:
Unused subs: Holy, Hessenthaler, Osadebe, List
8,718 (582 away)Attendance: