Match 31
20th February 1982
Gillingham (h)

Exeter City 1 Kellow, pen.
Gillingham 1 Dunan

Attendance: 2,888


EXETER City discovered that effort alone wasn't enough to provide them with the win they so desperately craved for at St. James' Park yesterday.

Craft was also required to break down a stone wall of a Gillingham defence, but no-one came up with the goods when they were needed most.

Tony Kellow and Martyn Rogers manoeuvred their way into goal scoring positions during the second half, but both were denied because the final pass in their direction was either too long or too high. Spells of heavy pressure meant nothing, therefore, and at the end of the day the Gills went home with the satisfaction of an away point, having avoided defeat for a second time this season after losing 3-2 to Exeter at Priestfield Stadium back in September. In fact, the Medway club had the sweet smell of success in their nostrils for a period during the opening half after Colin Duncan's ninth minute shot had been arrowed across goalkeeper Len Bond, and went in off a post. It followed a typical Gillingham pattern of attack when they pulled Exeter's' defence towards the left wing and then switched play to locate Powell running from a deep mid - field position on the right. The tactic worked beauti- fully for the goal and it was a move Exeter always had to be wary of for fear of being caught out again. City had no such definite ploy, in their attempt to un- hinge Gillingham and Kellow's 35th minute equaliser from the penalty spot was a most fortuitous affair. 

Shropshire referee Bert Newsome had an excellent game but did appear over zealous in ruling that Gillingham centre - half Pe- ter Shaw had fouled Peter Rogers as they challenged for a high Tony Mitchell cross. Perhaps Mr. Newsome felt he had to atone for dismissing an earlier Exeter claim for a penalty when a Peter Rogers' shot cannoned off the arm of left back Micky Adams.

Adams got away with that one, but he was booked for dissent when Mr. Newsome decided Shaw had infringed the laws a few minutes later. Poor Shaw. It was rough justice on his return to St. James' Park having helped Exeter out during a month's loan period when he was with Charlton Athletic just before Christmas. Once tempers died down, however, Kellow stepped up to lash the ball beyond goal- keeper, Ron Hillyard for his 16th goal of the season. He didn't get another chance to add to that impressive tally, but he wasn't alone. All the forward suffered as George Foster marshalled the defence in brilliant style for Exeter and centre back Steve Bruce, did the same for Gillingham. They were absolute rocks and it was more in frustration that Kellow was booked mid way through the second half for a charge on Hillyard. Kellow doesn't lose his cool very often, but neither have chances been quite so limited at home as they were against Bruce.

The second half was scrappy to say the least although Gillingham did have one chance to seal the three points. Duncan exploded along the left and striker Ken Price should have made a better job of his header instead of planting the ball wide of the target from a couple of yards. Exeter breathed a massive sigh of relief at that miss and in the final analysis were worthy of a point if only for their determination to end a barren spell in which the club find themselves steering perilously close to the relegation zone. Unfortunately, City's position is also beginning to have an effect through the turnstiles and yesterday's crowd was the lowest home gate of the season. Both teams introduced their substitutes. Peter Hatch aggravated an old thigh injury and was replaced by Phil Fisher.



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