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REPORT: Coventry City 2-1 Gillingham - Sky Blues hold on for all three points against the Gills

18 February 2017

The Sky Blues end winless run thanks to goals from the two Thomas'...

City claim three vital points in their bid for survival, with first-half goals from Kwame Thomas and George Thomas enough to earn their first win since November.

With both teams marooned at the wrong end of the table, the opening ten minutes were as tentative as expected, before the game exploded in to action in the 15th minute. 

Marcus Tudgay had the home side’s first attempt on goal, as a Kevin Foley free-kick was punched by Stuart Nelson. The striker lashed at the ball from 20-yards out, guiding it towards the Gills upright, but eventually sending it over the bar.

Gills talisman Bradley Dack sent an afford wide of Lee Burge’s goal at the other end, before City had fashioned a further opening of their own. 

Midfielder Callum Reilly, extending his good run of form, floated a ball in to the back post where Tudgay nodded back across the six yard line. Arriving late was Kwame Thomas, who headed in to an empty net from close range - making it two goals in three games since his long awaited return from injury.

Moments later, City had doubled their lead through teenager George Thomas, who was on the scoresheet for the first time in League One competition. The Welshman cleverly latched on to an Andy Rose shot, evading the offside flag, and calmly slotted past Nelson in the Gills goal. 

With the home side in the ascendancy, Tudgay was given a chance to further extend City’s lead, when found by Dion Kelly-Evans. The fullback was travelling with pace down the right, before whipping a cross towards Tudgay, but the header crept inches wide. 

George Thomas nearly had his second of the game on the half hour mark, as he flicked the ball over his head, fooling the opposition defender. Crafting a one on one situation with Nelson, the ‘keeper made himself big and saved the 19-year old’s shot with his legs. 

Approaching half-time, and the Gills were starting to ease their way in to the tie. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas hit a well struck shot wide of Burge’s right post, before Josh Wright miscued his effort at the back stick. 

Both teams were forced in to changes at the interval, with Reice Charles-Cook replacing Burge in the City upright. Ady Pennock elected to change his attacking line-up, with Emmanuel-Thomas and Cody McDonald retired and Josh Parker and Lee Martin introduced. 

And it wasn’t long before the changes paid dividends, as some lacklustre defending from a set piece was punished by Gills centre-half Max Ehmer. Netting his seventh of the season, the German turned home from close range when found unmarked at the back post.

Jodi Jones was introduced in to the action on the hour mark, fresh from his goal midweek, and replaced today’s scorer George Thomas. While Yakubu was also on in place of Kwame Thomas five minutes later.

Confusion in the area in the 70th minute nearly gifted the Gills a chance of an equaliser, before Rory Donnelly was in behind the City back line. Charles-Cook was smartly off his line to smother the danger, but the pressure continued to arrive from the visitors. 

Stand-in skipper Nathan Clarke was proving to be City’s saviour, as he was called upon to make vital interceptions on numerous occasions. The ex-Bradford man was rising highest when the ball was delivered in to City’s technical area, heading away the danger.

Reilly had a chance to seal it for the Sky Blues, before Yakubu had a shot on the turn saved by Nelson. Jones was next in on the action, eight yards out, which again Nelson was equal to. 

A nervy last five minutes ensued, with City having to dig deep to keep Gillingham at bay. Jones was working the channels well, running the clock down for the home side, who looked intent on holding out after the heartbreak of their midweek draw. The final whistle went, to the roar of the home following, as City sealed their first win under boss Russell Slade.

Attendance: 8,718 (582)

Yellow: Oshilaja, Byrne, Herd, Garmston. 

Teams

Coventry City: Burge (GK) (Charles-Cook 45'), Di. Kelly-Evans, Clarke (C), Turnbull, Haynes, Foley, Reilly, Rose, G.Thomas (Jones 65'), Tudgay, K.Thomas (Yakubu 69'). 

Subs: Rawson, Bigirimana, Reid, Lameiras. 

Gillingham: Nelson (GK), Jackson, Herd (Garmston 67'), Ehmer (C), Oshilaja, Donnelly, McDonald (Parker 45'), Dack, Byrne, Wright, Emmanuel-Thomas (Martin 45').

Subs: Holy (GK), Hessenthaler, Osadebe, List. 

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