Coventry City 1-0 Gillingham
Coventry City 1-0 Gillingham

Gillingham are still searching for their first win of the season after falling to a 1-0 loss against an impressive Coventry City side on Saturday afternoon.

Dom Hyam scored the only goal of the game in what was a flat first half for Gillingham, who had new manager Steve Evans pulling the strings from the dugout for the first time this season following the completion of his four game touchline ban.

The Gills stepped it up in the second half, but they couldn’t break down a resilient Coventry defence, and were forced to leave St Andrew’s empty handed.

As they often have so far this season, Gillingham started on the front foot, with Barry Fuller, who was making his 200th appearance for The Gills, putting a dangerous cross in inside the opening couple of minutes – however no one was present to meet it in the Coventry box.

The away from home home side will have felt they should have taken the lead on four minutes. They put a cross of their own into the box, and former Ebbsfleet striker Matt Godden got the better of Gills captain Max Ehmer, however his header was saved well by Bonham low to his right.

Coventry began to enjoy a lot of the play down their left hand side through Brandon Mason and Jordy Hiwula, but it was Wesley Jobello who headed just wide after 13 minutes before Godden had another golden opportunity to give his side the lead.

Gills goalkeeper Jack Bonham gave the ball away cheaply to Godden on the right hand side a few minutes later, and was left retreating as the Sky Blues forward ran at goal. Godden went for an aerial route to try and beat Bonham, but it was, ultimately, a tame effort that the number one could catch with ease.

Coventry’s pressure eventually paid off just before the half an hour mark courtesy of a Don Hyam effort from a Zain Westbrooke corner. The Gills were struggling to deal with some long balls from Mark Robins’ men, and, when Stuart O’Keefe headed a ball straight onto the foot of Westbrooke, Barry Fuller had to be alert to block a goal bound volleyed effort.

From the resulting corner, though, Coventry took the lead. A simple ball in from Westbrooke beat an on-rushing Jack Bonham, and Hyam battled with Connor Ogilvie at the back post, eventually coming out on top to poke home and give his side the lead.

Coventry smelt blood after the goal and almost doubled their lead just moments later with Godden involved again – his header needing a goal line clearance from Max Ehmer to prevent another goal.

The Blues finally had their first shot on goal on 31 minutes when in-form man Alex Jakubiak called Marko Marossi into action for the first time, forcing the Coventry stopper into a neat save from a tight angle.

Coventry continued to press and Jordan Shipley almost played Godden through again as the game neared half time, but the communication wasn’t quite there this time and the ball ran out for a goal kick.

First half substitute Mikael Ndjoli saw the final action of the half when he fired well over from an accute angle, and the Gills went into half time trailing what was proving to be a strong Coventry side, with plenty of work to do.

Steve Evans was sure to have laid into his team at the break and it showed as they flew out of the blocks for the second 45.

Alfie Jones pounced on a defensive error almost straight away, and laid the ball to Brandon Hanlan, who fired across goal in search of Alex Jakubiak, but to no avail.

Gillingham continued to move the ball well and Alfie Jones proved to be somewhat an anchor for the play; he nearly found Mikael Ndjoli through on goal but for the tiniest of deflections.

Despite the Gillingham pressure, Coventry still looked threatening on the counter and Jordy Hiwula almost caught The Gills off guard when he missed a Sam McCallum cross by a matter of centimetres.

Coventry did have a more defending to do, though, and some good Gillingham possession ended with Mikael Ndjoli firing wide before Alfie Jones handballed in the home penalty box to bring another attack to a halt on the hour mark.

The away side continued to enjoy plenty of possession but it was Jack Bonham who had to be alert in the Gillingham goal to keep out Jordan Shipley’s long range effort, gathering at the second attempt.

Arguably Gillingham’s best chance of the game came on 75 minutes when substitute Elliott List was fouled by City debutant Callum O’Hare, giving someone the chance to test Marko Marosi from 20 yards. It was Mikael Ndjoli who went for power rather than placement, but the Slovakian stopper was equal to the effort and able to palm away.

Gillingham continued to pepper the Coventry goal in front of their travelling fans and may have felt they should have been level when Connor Ogilvie almost prodded home Lee Hodson’s cross, but it wasn’t to be for the away side.

Referee Martin Coy blew his whistle not long after and it was Coventry who ran away the victors in an entertaining game, leaving The Gills still in search of their first three points of the season.

Coventry: Marosi, McCallum, Rose, Hyam, Mason, Westbrooke (O’Hare 67), Kelly, Jobello (Wakefield 80), Shipley, Hiwula, Godden (Bakayoko 80)..

Subs not used: Wilson, Williams, Eccles, Bapaga

Goals: Hyam, 26

Gillingham: Bonham, Hodson, Ehmer, Ogilvie, Fuller, Jones, Byrne, O’Keefe (List 63), Charles-Cook (Ndjoli 31), Hanlan (Mandron 86), Jakubiak.

Subs not used: Walsh, Cissé, Marshall, Woods

Goals: N/A

Attendance: 5624 (383 away)

Referee: Mr M Coy

Assistants: Mr A Laver and Mr A Dallison

Fourth official: Miss L Rashid