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Gillingham 2 Exeter City 3: Goals from Vadaine Oliver and Dominic Samuel not enough for the Gills in FA Cup second round clash


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Gillingham conceded three first half goals against League 2 Exeter City as their FA Cup involvement this season came to an end.

Vadaine Oliver’s opener for Gillingham was soon forgotten about as Exeter played it around well, hitting the net three times before the break. Dominic Samuel got one back late on for the Gills but it wasn’t enough.

Jack Tucker challenges for the ball Picture: Keith Gillard (43325681)
Jack Tucker challenges for the ball Picture: Keith Gillard (43325681)

Gills boss Steve Evans named a strong side against Exeter, with just the one change at the back as Christian Maghoma replaced Zech Medley, who had a knock.

Evans had spoken highly of Exeter pre-match and the visitors arrived buoyed by a six-goal performance in the week, boasting the joint best scoring record in League 2. They showed plenty of quality upfront but had plenty of early wobbles at the back.

Dominic Samuel blasted a great chance over after Jack Tucker recycled an early corner and Kyle Dempsey went close with a shot after Alex MacDonald had harried Josh Key out of possession.

MacDonald’s pressure led to the first goal and it was the left-back Lewis Page who lost the ball to the Gills midfielder, who then played in Oliver for a simple finish from just a few yards out.

Vadaine Oliver challenges for the ball Picture: Keith Gillard (43325683)
Vadaine Oliver challenges for the ball Picture: Keith Gillard (43325683)

Exeter had shown glimpses of what they could do upfront but the Gills only had one goal to show for their early effort. Before long they were trailing 3-1, with the League 2 side scoring three times in 11 minutes.

Law equalised on 29 minutes after finding the bottom corner, ending a sharp passing move that involved Ryahn Bowman and Randall and left the Gills chasing shadows.

Six minutes later Exeter were infront. The Gills surrendered possession to Law and he picked out Randall who converted to turn the match on its head.

Soon enough those two players combined again for a third, with Randall taking a great first touch to make space in the Gills box before smashing home. Gillingham made two changes at the break with Declan Drysdale replacing Maghoma at the back and Robertson taking over in midfielder from MacDonald.

Substitute Scott Robertson challenges for the ball Picture: Keith Gillard (43325720)
Substitute Scott Robertson challenges for the ball Picture: Keith Gillard (43325720)

Oliver went wide with an overhead kick early in the second half after Robertson got a head on a Jordan Graham cross.

The Gills gradually got on top in the half and with 20 minutes left were really putting on the pressure. It was the kind of game they needed the help of a packed Rainham End, which was where they were shooting.

Despite the possession, the Gills were struggling to find a way through the Exeter rearguard, until Samuel pounced to give them hope with 10 minutes left. Exeter had failed to clear the ball and the Gills striker hooked the ball home through a gap.

John Akinde joined the action soon after, replacing defender Ryan Jackson, as the Gills went all or nothing.

Exeter struck the woodwork in stoppage-time and maintained their lead to win a place in round three. Gillingham had a last-gasp chance to level from an Ogilvie throw but keeper Jack Bonham - still up from an earlier corner - smashed the chance over the bar with the final kick of the game.

Dominic Samuel misses from close range Picture: Keith Gillard (43325679)
Dominic Samuel misses from close range Picture: Keith Gillard (43325679)

Gillingham: Bonham, Jackson (Akinde 80mins), Tucker, Maghoma (Robertson 46mins), Ogilvie, McKenzie, Dempsey, MacDonald (Drysdale 46mins), Graham, Oliver, Samuel. Subs not used: Walsh, Woods, Willock, Coyle.

Exeter: Andresson, Key, McArdle, Hartridge, Page (Sparkes 25mins), Williams (Taylor 79mins), Atangana (Sweeney 79mins), Collins, Law, Randall, Bowman. Subs not used: Lee, Jay, Ajose, Fisher.

Referee: Alan Young

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