League One
CoventryCoventry City1GillinghamGillingham0

Coventry City 1-0 Gillingham

By Ged ScottBBC Sport at the Ricoh Arena
Franck Nouble scores for Coventry
Nouble's goal on debut ended an emotional evening for Coventry with three points

Coventry City made a victorious homecoming as they edged out Gillingham on their return to the Ricoh Arena.

Striker Frank Nouble's cool 10th-minute strike on his debut won the points for the Sky Blues as they made an emotional return to the city.

But Gillingham came close to spoiling City's first home game at the Ricoh since 20 April 2013.

They went close with three second-half headers before an effort flashed across the face of goal in injury time.

As a result of safety restrictions and a clearly over generous allocation of tickets to Gillingham's 495 away fans, the gate of 27,306 was some way short of the stadium's 32,000-capacity.

But it did not stop the City fans, particularly the vast majority who had not seen a home game in 17 months, making a racket.

Sky Blues return home
It was 503 days since the Sky Blues had last played at the Ricoh Arena - and 517 days since the home fans had celebrated a goal there.
Coventry City had seven players making their 'home' debut in the starting line-up - including first appearances for their two latest signings Frank Nouble and Seb Hines.
The Sky Blues' attendance on their return to the Ricoh was almost 5,000 more than all their 10 home gates for the second half of last season at Sixfields put together.

After an understandably rousing start, Steven Pressley's Sky Blues had already twice gone close and had a penalty shout turned down when they finally elicited an almost deafening roar by taking the lead.

Conor Thomas played a neat ball down the inside-left channel before Ryan Haynes pulled back cleverly to allow the unmarked Nouble to slide home left-footed from 12 yards.

John Fleck was close to a second goal when his header glanced wide just after the restart.

However Gills wasted two even better chances in quick succession when Kortney Hause powered a header wide before centre-half partner John Egan was denied by Ryan Allsop's low, scrambling save.

Coventry City had a crowd of 27,306 at the Ricoh Arena
Coventry's return to the city after 503 days brought a crowd of 27,306 to the Ricoh Arena.

Fleck was then denied by a combination of the bar and visiting keeper Stephen Bywater's outstretched finger tips after a stunning, improvised left-foot half-volleyed chip on the run from 50 yards, just as the ball was about to go out of play on the left touchline.

Yet despite Peter Taylor's men remaining a threat to the end, Egan twice more going close, they could not spoil City's night as the home side hung on to stretch their unbeaten run to six games.

Sky Blues manager Steven Pressley told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire:

"An outstanding night. A wonderful occasion, which showed the true potential of this club and left me feeling very proud to be the manager. We've given people hope.

"The result was very important. I've seen too many of these scripts where you want to win so much that you can end up with egg on your face, but we'd talked about the importance of that old cliche of playing the game, not the occasion.

"I've got enormous sympathy for the fans. They voted with their feet and ultimately forced the club to return where it belongs. They should feel proud of themselves.

"For all the hard work we've put in and the strain of having to play our home games somewhere else, we could never have moved forward without returning to the city. Now we're back, we have the freedom to build the club again."

Gillingham manager Peter Taylor told BBC Radio Kent:

"I'm really chuffed with the way my lads played. You fear the worst with that atmosphere and the way Coventry were flying at the start.

"They're a very good footballing side. And, if they can keep that sort of atmosphere here for all their home games, teams could really melt.

"But, especially in the second half, I was delighted with how we played.

"If we can carry on creating chances like that, we won't be far away. I still cannot believe we didn't score."

Line-ups

Coventry

  • 23Allsop
  • 2Willis
  • 4Webster
  • 5Johnson
  • 24ClarkeBooked at 36mins
  • 7FleckBooked at 83mins
  • 11O'Brien
  • 6ThomasBooked at 87minsSubstituted forFinchat 89'minutes
  • 26Haynes
  • 20TudgaySubstituted forHinesat 89'minutes
  • 19NoubleSubstituted forMcQuoidat 59'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Burge
  • 3Pugh
  • 9McQuoid
  • 14Coulibaly
  • 18Phillips
  • 25Hines
  • 27Finch

Gillingham

  • 30Bywater
  • 20DaviesSubstituted forNorrisat 75'minutes
  • 4Egan
  • 5Hause
  • 3MartinBooked at 36mins
  • 11McGlashanSubstituted forGermanat 85'minutes
  • 8Hessenthaler
  • 23Dack
  • 15Morris
  • 24DickensonSubstituted forPritchardat 75'minutes
  • 10McDonald

Substitutes

  • 2Fish
  • 12Morris
  • 14German
  • 16Linganzi
  • 18Pritchard
  • 19Norris
  • 25McKain
Referee:
Keith Stroud
Attendance:
27,306

Match Stats

Home TeamCoventryAway TeamGillingham
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home10
Away8
Shots on Target
Home4
Away2
Corners
Home4
Away7
Fouls
Home13
Away6

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Coventry City 1, Gillingham 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Coventry City 1, Gillingham 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Cody McDonald (Gillingham) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jake Hessenthaler with a cross.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Haynes (Coventry City).

  5. Post update

    Antonio German (Gillingham) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Coventry City. Conceded by John Egan.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Reda Johnson (Coventry City).

  8. Post update

    Luke Norris (Gillingham) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Coventry City. Sebastian Hines replaces Marcus Tudgay.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Coventry City. Jack Finch replaces Conor Thomas.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jim O'Brien (Coventry City) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Conor Thomas.

  12. Booking

    Conor Thomas (Coventry City) is shown the yellow card.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Conor Thomas (Coventry City).

  14. Post update

    Antonio German (Gillingham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Cody McDonald (Gillingham) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Bradley Dack with a through ball.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Gillingham. Antonio German replaces Jermaine McGlashan.

  17. Booking

    John Fleck (Coventry City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  18. Post update

    Foul by John Fleck (Coventry City).

  19. Post update

    Joe Martin (Gillingham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jim O'Brien (Coventry City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Josh McQuoid.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Friday 5th September 2014

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Peterborough540195412
2Fleetwood532062411
3Bristol City532074311
4MK Dons531195410
5Bradford531184410
6Chesterfield531164210
7Preston52308359
8Coventry62317619
9Barnsley52219638
10Swindon52218538
11Notts County52126517
12Doncaster52126607
13Sheff Utd52125507
14Gillingham6213911-27
15Leyton Orient51315416
16Crawley520336-36
17Oldham512267-15
18Port Vale512267-15
19Yeovil512248-45
20Rochdale511378-14
21Scunthorpe5113411-74
22Walsall503235-23
23Colchester5014510-51
24Crewe5005413-90
View full League One table

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