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16:57 22nd August 2009

Simon Royce


Gillingham lost their 100% home record after losing 0-1 to a well organised Hartlepool at krbs Priestfield.

After seeing his side perform well, despite successive defeats at Tranmere and Colchester, Mark Stimson kept faith with the same starting eleven that began every league fixture this season, though Dennis Oli made a welcome return on the subs bench after shaking off a knee ligament injury.

The first half was a largely uneventful affair played out in warm sunshine and it was the home side who were the first to register a shot of note in the seventh minute. Good persistence by Jack Payne found Jackson in space on the right side of goal, however his angled drive fizzed high over the crossbar.

In the 15th minute Andy Barcham weaved a path into the Hartlepool box and crossed towards Jackson, Barcham's invention deserved a finish but the visitors were able to head it behind to safety.

Chances for both teams were few and far between and it was the Pools who came closest to breaking the deadlock in the 27th minute.

Leon McSweeney swung over a corner from the left and Gary Liddle was unlucky with a bullet header over the bar.

Three minutes later Barcham laid off for John Nutter to cross and though Curtis Weston rose well to connect his header was wide of the far post.

That was followed by a speculative effort from Peter Hartley who let fly with a blast from well outside the box, it swerved ominously in flight but was comfortably gathered by Julian.

The visitors gave the Gills a real fright five minutes from the interval when Fredriksen's right wing free-kick found James Brown in the area but the striker powered a header over the bar when he should have hit the target.

HT 0-0

With the Rainham End in full cry and Simon Royce restored between the posts Gillingham started the second half with renewed vigour and went close in the 53rd minute when Miller found Jackson on the right of goal and the diminutive forward stunned Flinders with a wicked snap shot.

Two minutes later, after Royce had saved Denis Behan's low free-kick, Jackson collected a ball over the top and beat the oncoming Pools keeper only to see his goalbound effort hacked off the line.

The visitors went close soon after as McSweeney crossed from the left for Behan but Royce was equal to his close range header.

In the 61st minute Dennis Oli was brought down on the edge of the area, John Nutter took the resulting free kick and curled a sweetly struck effort narrowly over the bar.

Against the run of play Hartlepool stunned Priestfield into silence with a brilliant solo goal, he collected a loose ball on the edge of the Gills area and turned before planting an exceptional strike into the Royce's top right corner.

20 minutes from time the visitors could have claimed a second as Andy Monkhouse found himself unmarked on the left of goal but his low strike rolled agonisingly wide of Royce's far post.

Four minutes later Brown broke into the area and sliced a neat shot that shaved the near post as Pools looked to extend their advantage.

Seconds after arriving as a late substitute Mark McCammon was unfortunate not to find the net. Garry Richards long ball from inside the Gills half found the giant striker just inside the box and Flinders had to save well to keep out his goal bound header.

In added time a clearance fell to Nutter who floated it straight back into the area, McCammon met it at the far post but headed into the Rainham End.

A minute later Barry Fuller's right wing cross found the big man again but this time Flinders was able to scoop up his header at the foot of his right hand post.

Attendance: 4969 (151 visitors)

Gillingham: Alan Julian (46 Simon Royce), Barry Fuller, Garry Richards, Josh Gowling, John Nutter, Mark Bentley (77 Mark McCammon), Adam Miller (59 Dennis Oli), Jack Payne, Curtis Weston, Andy Barcham, Simeon Jackson.

Subs not used: Kevin Maher, Chris Palmer, Tom Wynter, Jacob Erskine.

Hartlepool United: Scott Flinders, Gary Liddle, Sam Collins, Leon McSweeney, Denis Behan (Adam Boyd 73), Andy Monkhouse, James Brown (86 Neil Austin), Antony Sweeney, Steve Haslam, Jon-Andre Fredriksen (57 Ritchie Jones), Peter Hartley.

Subs not used: Jonny Rowell, Alan Power, Mark Cook, Billy Greulich.


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.