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21:36 26th January 2010


Gillingham make it two draws in two games with a hard fought point on a freezing night in the North East

With Josh Gowling absent through injury Mark Stimson drafted Mark Bentley into the back four, with Kevin Maher filling the role vacated in centre midfield.

Gillingam survived an early scare in the third minute when Joe Gamble found space to cross from the right wing but Julian reacted smartly to save at the feet of the lurking Behan.

After containing ten minutes pressure from the Pools, the visitors began to find their feet in the game, Tristan Plummer's 14th minute cross-come-shot drawing the first save from home keeper Scott Flinders.

Hartlepool continued to dominate but the Gills defence remained water-tight, Alan Julian not needing to make a save until the 26th minute as Behan sent Monkhouse clean through but the visitors custodian raced out to deny a certain goal.

On the half hour Jackson made space to let fly from outside the area but shot high and wide, his effort rebounding off the roof of the home terrace. While Rene Howe became the first name in the referee's book following an ill-timed tackle on Neil Austin.

Humphreys missed a golden opportunity to put the home side in front on 36 minutes, volleying Larkin's cross goalwards only to see it deflect behind for a corner.

Four minutes later a superb chance went begging at the other end as Wynter race unchallenged down the left flank, he laid off to Barcham who in turn fed Maher, his pass found Jackson who sent Plummer behind the defence but the winger placed his finish inches wide of the far post.

Just before the break, Gamble went close for the Pools rolling a low drive from the edge of the box past Julian's right hand upright as both sides finished the half strongly.

HT 0-0

In the 54th minute Kevin Maher came to the Gills rescue after Antony Sweeney headed Humphreys corner on target. Fortunately the experienced midfielder was on the line to head to safety and keep his side in the game.

Mark Stimson made an attacking substitution with half an hour to go, introducing Rooney for Plummer on the right of midfield.

The switch gave Gillingham a more positive approach which nearly paid dividends on 64 minutes. Jackson twisted and turned before crossing for Barcham, the ball was cleared into the path of Howe who swept his finish wide of the far post.

The subsequent arrival of Ritchie Jones saw the balance of play swing back in favour of the home side but only briefly.

In the 70th minute a sensational run by Rene Howe down the right saw the powerful forward cross for Simeon Jackson to plant a bullet header into the far corner for his 14th of the season.

The lead lasted just nine minutes as Neil Austin burst through the Gills midfield before crashing a sublime low finish beyond Alan Julian from 25 yards.

There was still time for late heroics from Captain Barry Fuller to head Adam Boyd's injury time cross away from danger, as the Gills hung on for a well deserved point.

Attendance: 2465 (78 Gillingham)

Gillingham: Alan Julian, Barry Fuller, Mark Bentley, Darren Dennehy, Tom Wynter, Tristan Plummer (Luke Rooney 59), Kevin Maher, Jack Payne, Andy Barcham (Rashid Yussuff 83), Rene Howe, Simeon Jackson.

Subs not used: Simon Royce, John Nutter, Adam Miller, Dennis Oli, Stuart Lewis

Hartlepool United: Scott Flinders, Neil Austin, Sam Collins, Gary Liddle, Peter Hartley, Colin Larkin, Antony Sweeney, Joe Gamble, Ritchie Humphreys (Ritchie Jones 65), Andy Monkhouse, Denis Behan (Adam Boyd


Subs not used: Mark Cook, Ben Clark, Steve Haslam, Jon-Andre Fredriksen, Armann Bjornsson.


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