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16:57 28th December 2009

Simeon Jackson tests the Grecians defence


Gillingham end the year with a welcome away point after an impressive display against Exeter at St James Park.

Mark Stimson brought Matt Fry, Stuart Lewis and Rashid Yussuff into his starting line-up to replace the suspended Gowling and Weston, while Febian Brandy missed out after taking a knock in the Boxing Day clash with Brentford.

In a tentative start to the match, the visitors enjoyed the better of the openings, Nutter heading narrowly over from a Jackson cross, Fry and Jackson also bringing saves from keeper Paul Jones.

On 17minutes Grecians' Bertie Cozic went into the book for a foul on Simeon Jackson, the winger fortunate only to see yellow after appearing to go through the back of Gillingham's leading scorer.

Eight minutes later Jackson raced onto Nutter's ball down the line and turned Matt Taylor but could only get away a weak shot that was easily held by Jones in the Exeter goal.

The homes side's first decent chance came seconds later as Marcus Stewart found space on the edge of the box but his goalbound effort deflected wide of the mark.

Gillingham's best opening came in the 33rd minute Rashid Yussuff applying a powerful header to Chris Palmer's left wing cross but Jones was on hand to push it behind for a corner.

Further chances went begging for Lewis and Oli while Harley went close with a blast from long range. In truth the visitors were clearly the better side and Exeter would be relieved to go in all square at the break.

HT 0-0

A half time change for the Grecians gave the home side a more attacking feel in the second half but neither team seriously troubled either keeper. Bertie Cozic was first to produce a decent chance, shooting from distance in the 54th minute but Julian was able to gather his effort at the second attempt.

Shortly before the hour mark Gillingham gave their hosts an almighty scare, First Rashid Yussuff drove wide with a shot from the edge of the box, then Oli ended a surging run with a slice wide of Jones' right hand upright before the same player headed inches over the cross bar from a corner.

In the 64th minute Exeter should have done better from Ryan Harley's free kick which was headed back across goal from Marcus Stewart but the veteran forward placed his finish over the bar.

Two minutes later Jackson was guilty of the same offence, blazing over at the opposite end after excellent hold up play by Dennis Oli.

Then in the 68th minute Exeter took the lead in surprise fashion, full back Richard Duffy trying his luck from 30 yards and finding the net courtesy of a cruel deflection.

Stuart Lewis deservedly equalised for the Gills two minutes later, Chris Palmer's cross evaded the home defence, falling to Lewis who rifled home from 18 yards.

Sub Stuart Fleetwood tested Alan Julian in the 74th minute with a rising drive that was well held by the Gills custodian at his near post.

The Gills survived another scare three minutes later as Alex Russell's right foot shot from just outside the area struck Julian's right hand post before falling kindly to the keeper.

The home side continued to press, first Fleetwood crossing for Fuller to slice over the bar and clear the danger. Then Russell blasted wide before Stewart headed over as Gillingham fought a rearguard action.

Julian pulled off another good stop to deny Scott Golbourne's 87th minute effort from the left wing as the visitors fought bravely for a point as Exeter ramped up the intensity of their attacks.

Despite four minutes of injury time the visitors weathered the storm to finish 2009 with their second away point of the campaign.

Attendance: 5761 (303 Gillingham)

Gillingham: Alan Julian, Barry Fuller, Mark Bentley, Matt Fry (Tom Wynter 82), Chris Palmer, Dennis Oli, Stuart Lewis, Kevin Maher, Rashid Yussuff, John Nutter, Simeon Jackson (Mark McCammon 84).

Subs not used: Simon Locke, Jacob Erskine, Luke Rooney, Jack Payne.

Exeter City: Paul Jones, Steve Tully, Richard Duffy, Dan Seaborne, Matt Taylor, Ryan Harley, Adam Stansfield (Stuart Fleetwood 72), Scott Golbourne, Bertrand Cozic (Alex Russell 66), Marcus Stewart, James Dunne (Richard Logan 46).

Subs not used: Andy Marriott, Rob Edwards, Neil Saunders, Liam Sercombe.


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