Gillingham 2 Coventry 5
By Patrick Goss
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The Gills found themselves 3-0 down inside 31 minutes, got two back - despite the loss of Hessenthaler - but then crumbled towards another defeat that leaves them battling for their Division One survival.
The writing was on the wall after just six minutes when Michael Doyle curled a superb free kick home, and Gary McSheffrey provided Andy Morrell with a fine pass which he dispatched with aplomb for the second.
Man-of-the-match McSheffrey added a quick-fire third himself when he jinked past a tackle and curled home superbly, but The Gills did battle back into the game.
Gary Wales gave the strugglers hope with the first, playing a fine one-two with Mamady Sidibe before slotting home.
Just when Gillingham needed calm heads, Hessenthaler lost his - picking up his second booking, but it did not stop Sidibe poaching a second.
The home fans briefly sparked with hope, but it was City that grabbed the sixth goal of the game when McSheffrey calmly finished after a good through-ball from Stephen Warnock.
With the game fizzling out Richard Shaw added a fifth, but Gilllingham's fans were already looking to the final weekend of the season, when they could need a result to stay up.