THE SKY Blues may be sitting top of League One after thumping Gillingham 4-1 on Saturday, but manager Tony Mowbray is refusing to get carried with the club’s impressive position.
A hat-trick from Jacob Murphy and a goal by loan signing Ben Turner on his return to the Ricoh Arena all in the space of ten first half minutes wrapped up comfortable win by half-time.
Gillingham had started the day at the top and did pull one goal back after the break through Bradley Dack, but it proved to be little more than a consolation for the visitors.
A fourth league win moves the Sky Blues three points clear at the top of the league ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Bradford and Mowbray knows there is still a long way to go after 18 games.
He said: “I’ve been top of the table many times, at Boro I was top of the table two years running and finished outside the play-offs.
“There is still a really long way to go. Let’s just keep working hard and making sure we continue to improve with every game. It’s important to keep that mind-set.
“It’s important the players and staff enjoy these moments though and it was a great performance. Gillingham were top of the league at the start of the day so to perform so well against them is a great achievement.”
After a bright start, the hosts took the lead on 34 minutes when after Jim O’Brien made a crucial clearance off the line, the Sky Blues made a quick break with Murphy finding himself through on goal and he rounded Stuart Nelson in the Gillingham goal and poked the ball home.
Two minutes later Turner marked his return with a goal after heading home Ryan Kent’s corner and four minutes before the break Murphy grabbed his second after being put through again, this time by O’Brien, and the Norwich man took the ball round Nelson again and the ball home into an empty net.
There was still time for a fourth with Chris Stokes doing brilliantly down the right to pick out Murphy inside the area and he fired home his third with a powerful finish.
After the break the hosts had chances to increase their lead with Adam Armstrong coming the closest after being put through on goal but his shot clipped the outside of the post.
Gillingham pulled one goal back on 63 minutes through midfielder Dack who beat Reice Charles-Cook with a low shot from the edge of the box, but there was no real threat of fightback as Mowbray’s side saw out the game with ease.
“What I was pleased about was the concentration and the intensity we played at, it’s what we’ve been working on all week leading up to the game and it paid off,” added Mowbray.
“I thought right from the first whistle we looked like the team who were going to win the game and when we scored the first goal, we didn’t let them recover and kept pressing forward.
“Overall, it was a top performance and we’ve got to use that as our benchmark for the rest of the season.”