Late show at MEMS Priestfield Stadium as Gills beat Coventry on penalties in the Carabao Cup.
Gillingham booked their place in the third round of the Carabao Cup after edging past Coventry City on penalties at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
Gills looked to be heading out of the competition but a last gasp Jordan Graham equaliser took the game to penalties and Steve Evans’ side came out on top, scoring every single one. It means Gillingham will play Wolves or Stoke in Round Three.
Steve Evans made a whole host of changes for the visit of the Championship side with those on the bench on Saturday getting some minutes in the Second Round. The winner of the tie knew they would face a trip to Wolves and Stoke, who play on Thursday.
On what was a glorious evening in Medway it was the Championship side who tested first. Amadou Bakayoko was released in behind the Gills defence but after spending a couple of seconds composing himself, saw his effort superbly saved by Jack Bonham. The Gills keeper did well to turn the ball behind for a corner.
Just a couple of minutes later and it was Deja-vu for the Gills backline as Coventry spurned another great opportunity. This time it was Tyler Walker who broke in behind, but the young forward's effort cannoned back off the post and into the grateful arms of Bonham.
The two early openings certainly gave Gills a wake-up and Steve Evans’ side started to grow into the tie. Firstly, Vadaine Oliver volleyed narrowly past the post before Jordan Graham struck a free-kick over the bar.
Just before the break Gills suffered a blow when Stuart O’Keefe was stretchered off following a challenge from Bakayoko. The Gills captain went straight to the hospital and everyone at the Football Club wishes Stu a speedy recovery.
Gills were attacking the Rainham End in the second period and started on the front foot. Scott Robertson was driving the hosts forward in the second half and come close twice, but on both occasions fired his effort narrowly past the post.
On the hour mark Coventry took the lead. Coventry attacked down their left-hand side through Brandon Mason. The full-back delivered a delightful cross into the box and Max Biamou, who had just joined the action, headed home powerfully from six yards out. 0-1.
The goal halted Gillingham’s progress and the game did slow down as a number of substitutions were made and Coventry began to reduce the tempo of the tie.
As the time ticked away Gillingham started to throw more men forward and could have drawn level in the 88th minute but Vadaine Oliver shot comfortably over the bar from 30 yards.
There was to be a final twist as Gillingham equalised right at the death. Oliver was bundled over in the box and Jordan Graham took responsibility from 12 yards to fire emphatically into the top corner. 1-1.
The penalties were taken in front of an empty away end and Gillingham didn’t miss any of their spot kicks, with Trae Coyle scoring the inner. The only man to miss was Michael Rose who fired his penalty in to the stands as Evans’ side progressed.
Ogilvie – Scored
Graham – Scored
Robertson – Scored
Mellis - Scored
Coyle - Scored
Walker – Scored
Biamou – Scored
Sheaf – Scored
Rose – Missed
Gills: Bonham, Jackson, Ogilvie, O’Keefe (Mellis 44), Tucker, Willock (Coyle 71), Graham, MacDonald (McKenzie 62), Oliver, Robertson, Maghoma.
Unused subs: Walsh, Medley, Akinde, Woods.
Coventry City: Billson, Mason, Rose, Sheaf, Walker, Bakayoko, Dabo (Burroughs 77), Thompson, Eccles, Drysdale, Bapaga (Biamou 55).
Unused subs: Tyler, Hilssner, Burroughs, Kastaneer, Williams, Lafferty
Referee: Craig Hicks