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Before today’s top-of-the-table clash, Gillingham were in the number one spot by the skin of their teeth.

Level on points with second-placed Coventry City – superior on goal difference by just one goal – and two points ahead of Walsall – who still have a game in hand – today’s visit to the Ricoh was bound to be crucial.

P GD Pts
1 Gillingham 17 15 34
2 Coventry 17 14 34
3 Walsall 16 14 32

After half an hour, the top two were still level, while Walsall were also goalless against Sheffield United. But then all hell broke loose. With the Gills having held firm against pressure from the Sky Blues, suddenly the floodgates opened and, in the space of ten minutes, the league leaders had conceded four goals: the hosts’ Jacob Murphy netted a hat trick with Ben Turner completing the rout.

Going into the break Gillingham were 4-0 down and had given a very poor account of themselves.

The second half proved to be quieter. The Gills had tightened up and Coventry took their foot off the gas a little. Just after the hour mark, Bradley Dack – our top scorer – gave the visitors a little bit of hope but it was, alas, to no avail. When the final whistle blew, the scoreboard read:

Coventry City 4
Gillingham 1

and the top two teams had reversed their roles:

P GD Pts
1 Coventry 18 17 37
2 Gillingham 18 12 34
3 Walsall 17 14 33

All things considered, a disappointing result for Gillingham – and a long journey home for the 857 visiting fans who made the journey. The discussion on social media was not a happy one for some:

Others, however, were more upbeat:

The fact is, 4-1 is a disappointing result, but it’s not the end of the world. One bad game does not define a season any more than one good game. 18 games in, we are second in the league, with an average of almost two points per game. Emulated over the course of 46 games, that would result in an impressive 87 points – which, at the end of last season, would have meant a fourth-placed finish.

Clearly there are lessons to be learnt from today’s game, but I, for one, am not concerned. On Tuesday, the Gills host Rochdale and the slate will be wiped clean. Our primary aim for the season, absurd as it might seem when sitting second, must be avoiding relegation until we have at least 50 points. Only then can we start to look towards the play-offs and only then can we think about what else the season might bring us.

Until then: enjoy every victory wisely and don’t mourn every loss too dejectedly.

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