The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Hash Piperdy

TONY Mowbray was fum­ing at his side’s fail­ure to match Gilling­ham as Coven­try re­mained win­less, de­spite tak­ing the lead.

An open first half favoured the hosts slightly, but the game was de­cided by Billy Knott late on.

Kyel Reid con­tin­u­ally men­aced the Gills’ back four with his di­rect run­ning and he opened the scor­ing af­ter in­dus­tri­ous work from Gael Bi­gi­r­i­mana. He as­sisted Reid, who struck with a low vol­ley.

It took five min­utes for the Gills to get back on terms, with Ryan Jack­son’s long throw find­ing Max Eh­mer. His glanc­ing header left Re­ice Charles-Cook stranded.

Man­ager Mowbray out­lined his frus­tra­tion: “It was there for us to grab this game af­ter their tough game on Wednes­day [at Tot­ten­ham].

“We let it slip through our fin­gers and that was dis­ap­point­ing.

“We didn’t do the ba­sics. We dis­ap­pointed de­fen­sively and we didn’t deal with them. We didn’t stand up enough. I’ve been moan­ing about goals and now I’m moan­ing about the de­fence. Maybe it hurts me more be­cause I played there all my ca­reer.”

Gilling­ham con­tin­ued to work and got their re­ward in the sec­ond half, de­spite flashes of bright­ness from the vis­i­tors.

Their as­sis­tant man­ager David Ker­slake said: “The re­sult was the most im­por­tant thing. We’re nowhere near our best foot­ball­wise, but if we work hard and grind teams down, once we can do that, the play­ers will play with more of an open spirit.”

And with just un­der 20 min­utes to go, they ground out their re­ward. Knott slot­ted past the keeper af­ter McDon­ald played him through with the de­fence ab­sent.

Ker­slake praised Knott af­ter his first goal for the club: “He’s a ter­rific foot­baller but he put in a shift and a half with­out the ball.”

Mowbray mean­while talked about the age of his squad.

He said: “Peo­ple are out on that pitch to pay their mort­gages and feed their fam­i­lies and it takes a few years to sink in for young play­ers.

“I think we have to re­alise what it takes to win foot­ball games and I don’t think we’ve got to that point yet.

“We’re a young team and we need some play­ers who have been in this league and know how to get the job done but they’re not easy to come by.” Coven­try were by no means out of the game and con­tin­ued to bat­tle. Marvin Sordell al­most got them a point but Stu­art Nel­son palmed his low vol­ley wide in in­jury time, which Ker­slake de­scribed as a three-point save. “He’s done it through­out his ca­reer. He’s been out­stand­ing and had the same en­thu­si­asm when (Jonathan) Bond has been in the team. “He’s come into the team and per­formed as we would ex­pect him to.”

PIC­TURES: Martin Cole/ProS­ports

JUST IN TIME: Gilling­ham mid­fielder Billy Knott scores the win­ning goal and then cel­e­brates

SALUTE: Gilling­ham de­fender Max Eh­mer

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