Improved second-half display goes unrewarded as Gills slip to defeat at St. Andrew's.
A Dom Hyam goal midway through the first half condemned Gillingham to a 1-0 defeat at St. Andrew’s on Saturday afternoon.
Hyam capitalised on some poor defending to steer home Coventry’s winner in the 25th minute. After a slow start at St Andrew’s, Gillingham were much improved after the interval but couldn’t find a leveller. Mikael Ndjoli coming closest for Steve Evans’ side.
Evans made one change to the side that held Blackpool on Tuesday with Regan Charles-Cook coming in but it was Coventry who started the brighter in Warwickshire. Wesley Jebello crossed from deep towards Matt Godden, but the prolific forward’s header was well saved by Jack Bonham.
The Sky Blues were certainly full of confidence and Godden’s attempted lob just moments later nearly came off. Bonham was again on hand to deny the striker though, this time with a more regulation save.
Coventry took the lead in the 25th minute through Dom Hyam. A corner from the left was floated towards the back-post and the onrushing Hyam. Bonham came to collect but missed the ball and Hyam was there to roll home into the empty net. 1-0.
Gills’ first real chance of the game fell the way of Alex Jakubiak. A forward pass split the Coventry backline, but after doing well to find half a yard, Jakubiak saw his shot saved by Marosi before the follow-up was scrambled away.
Soon after the chance, Steve Evans made his first change as Mikael Ndjoli, back from suspension, was introduced in place of Regan Charles-Cook.
Just before the interval, sub Ndjoli was sent clear by Jakubiak, but from a tight angle, and off balance, Ndjoli sliced the ball wide of the post as the half-time whistle went.
Neither side made a change after the break but Gillingham were certainly much improved. The lively Ndjoli again threatened but his shot across the face of goal was easily claimed by Marko Marosi.
Coventry pushed forward though from another cross, this time from the right-hand side but it was headed inches wide by Godden. It was easy to see why the Sky Blues had started the season so well.
A succession of corners for the Gills were dealt with before Brandon Hanlan headed over the bar. Elliott List was then introduced, in place of Stuart O’Keefe as Steve Evans’ side looked for an equaliser.
And they came within inches of doing so with just fifteen minutes left. After Elliott List was taken down on the edge of the box, Mikael Ndjoli stepped up but saw his free-kick expertly saved by Marosi over to his right. The closest Gills came to a leveller.
More Gillingham pressure was to go unrewarded in the 80th minute when a Lee Hodson cross to the back-post was met by Connor Ogilvie but his deflected effort was scrambled away and behind.
One final throw from the Gills came with a corner in the last minute. Jack Bonham rushed up to try and cause some havoc, unfortunately Mandron’s header was caught by Marosi and that was that. Coventry took the points, although Gills will feel they deserved more from a much better second half display.
Coventry: Marosi, Mason, Rose, Kelly, Jobello (Wakefield 80), Hiwula, Hyam, Godden (Bakayoko 80) ,Westbrooke (O’Hare 66), Shipley, McCallum.
Unused subs: Wilson, Williams, Eccles, Bapaga.
Gillingham: Bonham, Hodson, Ehmer, Ogilvie, Fuller, Byrne, O’Keefe (List 62), Jones, Jakubiak, Hanlan (Mandron 86), Charles-Cook (Ndjoli 30).
Unused subs: Walsh, Cisse, Woods, Marshall.