Match ends, Coventry City 4, Gillingham 1.
Coventry City hit four goals inside 10 first-half minutes, including a hat-trick from Jacob Murphy, as they overwhelmed morning leaders Gillingham to leapfrog to the top of League One.
It took until the 34th minute before Murphy fired home left-footed from six yards before on-loan Ben Turner quickly doubled City's lead with a header.
On-loan Murphy then struck twice more inside three minutes before the break.
Bradley Dack pulled one back with a left-foot shot on 63 minutes.
But it could not stop Gillingham surrendering their lead to City, who climbed to their highest ranking in the Football League since being relegated to the third tier in 2012.
Despite controlling the first half hour, City could have fallen behind when Sky Blues old boy Cody McDonald's header was cleared off the line by Jim O'Brien. Instead, the Sky Blues broke down the other end and Murphy took advantage of a mistake by Adedeji Oshilaja to round goalkeeper Stuart Nelson before finishing.
Three minutes later, Murphy won the corner that saw Ryan Kent cross for Turner to power home his 37th minute header, marking his first start since his midweek return to the club on loan from Cardiff City..
O'Brien then played in Murphy to round Nelson again before the young on-loan Norwich striker completed his first career treble when he stroked Chris Stokes' cross into the top corner to complete a personal haul of six goals in three games after last weekend's brace at Colchester.
Coventry top scorer Adam Armstrong then hit the post before Dack fired home his consolation goal for the visitors.
Second beats first again
This was the third time this season that 'second' has played 'first' in League One - and, on each occasion, the game has been won by the chasing side, to ensure new leaders of the division.
Sky Blues boss Tony Mowbray told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire:
"I'm delighted with a top performance. My job is to inspire the team and get them in the right frame of mind.
"When they left the dressing room I thought they were ready for a proper game of football, and it proved to be the case.
"We have to use that as our benchmark and try to attain that performance level as often as we can."
- 15TurnerSubstituted forPhillipsat 56'minutes
- 11O'BrienSubstituted forHaynesat 81'minutes
- 25MurphySubstituted forBigirimanaat 63'minutes
- 44WrightSubstituted forMorrisat 71'minutes
- 8HessenthalerBooked at 31mins
- 16OsadebeSubstituted forLoftat 45'minutes
- 23DackBooked at 64mins
- 10McDonaldSubstituted forDickensonat 68'minutes
- Mark Brown
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Coventry City 4, Gillingham 1.
Attempt blocked. Brennan Dickenson (Gillingham) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Gael Bigirimana (Coventry City).
John Egan (Gillingham) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Adam Armstrong (Coventry City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by John Egan (Gillingham).
Attempt missed. Adam Armstrong (Coventry City) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.
Chris Stokes (Coventry City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Jake Hessenthaler (Gillingham).
Attempt saved. Gael Bigirimana (Coventry City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Substitution, Coventry City. Ryan Haynes replaces Jim O'Brien.
Corner, Gillingham. Conceded by Aaron Phillips.
Attempt saved. Dominic Samuel (Gillingham) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Gael Bigirimana (Coventry City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Bradley Garmston (Gillingham).
Substitution, Gillingham. Aaron Morris replaces Josh Wright.
Attempt blocked. Bradley Garmston (Gillingham) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by John Fleck (Coventry City).
Ryan Jackson (Gillingham) wins a free kick on the left wing.