31st October 1995
Exeter 0-0 Gillingham
Tired Gills missing a touch of class
Leaders make a point to keep ahead of the pack
HALLOWE'EN found Gillingham without a trick or treat for their army of supporters at Exeter last night.
The Endsleigh League, Division 3 leaders retained their grip on pole position but showed signs of letting the crown slip on a night when the team lost their shine in the long shadows cast by Exeter's patchy floodlights.
Gillingham enjoyed ample possession and were high on creativity against a side without a win in their last seven games. A third away win in the league should have further en dorsed their credentials as genuine promotion prospects, along with the bonus of becom ing the first Gillingham side to have won at Exeter since 1962.
Whether fatigue had taken its toll after a round England tour of 1,100 miles in four days taking in the sights from Hartlepool to Exeter - remains to be seen. But there were times last night when Gillingham looked like a side playing in overcoats. They lacked sparkle.
"We were not positive enough," manager Tony Pulis summed up afterwards. "It's essential that we become more positive away from home. I expect us to come to places like Exeter and win. If we had scored one goal, we would have gone on to win. I'm in no doubt about that."
cause, that Gillingham should have taken a second minute lead when Leo Fortune-West fired home after Mark O'Connor had created the opening with a surging run through the heart of the Exeter defence.
A linesman flagged for offside but neither he or referee John. Brandwood spotted two Exeter defenders on the goal-line.
"I can't wait to see that on the video. I'm convinced the referee and linesman made a genuine mistake," Pulis added.
Exeter goalkeeper and player-manager Peter Fox kept his side in the game with saves from Fortune-West, twice, and skipper Simon Ratcliffe.
Alex Watson and Mark Harris also spurned chances with headers from set pieces which gave Exeter the breathing space to raise their levels of confi dence.
The wafer-thin Martin Phillips troubled Gillingham with his pace and close control.
Match Report 2
TUESDAY 31st OCTOBER 1995.
ENDSLEIGH LEAGUE DIVISION 3.
EXETER CITY 0 GILLINGHAM 0.
Gillingham arrived at St James Park, top of the table and having the meanest defence in the whole Division. But despite the fact that they always looked the more likely to score. Exeter more than matched their opponents in an excellent game appreciated by the home supporters at the end of the 90 minutes
No one could fault City for their sheer effort, as everyone worked hard throughout. showing excellent batting qualities. Goalkeeper Peter Fox made a series of stops to keep his side in the game, but it certainly was not a ane man show. Paul Buckle excelled in midfield and their were eye catching solid displays from Noel Blake, Mark Came, Martin Philips and Mark Gavin.
City's plans for the game received a blow after just 16 minutes when Robbie Turner had to leave the field with a groin strain, and a further reshuffle was necessary at half- time when Matthew Hare failed to appear for the second half suffering from concussion.
Despite the enforced changes. City almost took the lead early in the second period when, during the Grecians best attacking spell of the game, Phillips sent over a cross which Gills delender Alec Watson turned against a post. Shortly after Richard Pears just failed to meet another Philips centre, and this was followed by a Gavin drive which deflected to safety off Daniy Bailey, Exeter almost snatched the points in the 85th minute when a swirling cross from Jamie Morgan was turned over the bar in uncomfortable fashion by Jim Stannard.
A well earned and hard fought point which stretched Exeter City's unbeaten run to four league and cup matches.
Peter Fox. Matthew Hare (Jamis Morgan 46th), Celin Anderson, Paul Buckie, Noel Blake, Jon Richardson, Mark Gavin, Danny Bailey, Robbie Turner (Richard Pears 16th), Mark Came Martin Phillips.
Sub not used: Nicky Medin
Jim Stannard, Neil Smith, Dominic Naylor (Darren Freeman 46th), Alec Watson (Paul Watson 70th), Mark Harris, Gary Micklewhite, Phil Butler, Simon Ratcliffe, Lea Fortune-West Dennis Bailey, Mark O'Connor
Sub not used: Joe Dunne
Referee: John Brandwood (Litchfield)