Cureton heads home to put City back into play-off spot
EXETER City moved back into the play-off places on Tuesday night as Jamie Cureton scored an 86th-minute header to give the Grecians a 3-2 win away at league leaders Gillingham.
The veteran striker, who has now moved onto 15 goals for the season, said the result highlighted the character they have in the squad.
Cureton's own mental strength was put the test during the match as he missed a penalty – seconds before he got himself in the correct spot to grab the winner.
"It was a relief (to get the winner)," said Cureton. "I was disappointed, it wasn't a great penalty. I have not really taken any (penalties) for Exeter before, I've been on them at other clubs.
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"It was an opportunity to win the game for us and I didn't take it very well at all. I just thought, let's hope another chance comes along and thankfully it did and I took it."
Paul Tisdale made one change to the side that had beaten Bradford City on Saturday, bringing in Tommy Doherty for John O'Flynn.
However, the Grecians got off to a bad start as Chris Whelpdale latched onto a through ball and slid a shot under Artur Krysiak to give the home side a third-minute lead.
City got a grip on the game after that. Alan Gow began to cause problems with his mazy runs forward and neat touches in and around the Gills penalty box.
The talismanic Scot deservedly pulled City level on 26 minutes as he won, and took, a 30-yard free-kick that sailed into the top right-hand corner of the goal.
Gillingham pushed forward for the remainder of the half but, with the blustery conditions in their favour after the break, City were the better side.
Gow was in his element, producing flicks and step-overs as the league leaders gave him too much time on the ball.
It was the Scot who set up Cureton for his first goal of the game on 54 minutes. His left-wing cross wasn't cleared at the back post and Cureton fired the ball home from close range.
Gillingham pushed men forward in search of an equaliser. And, with City's defence withstanding the pressure, it took a spectacular drive from full-back Danny Jackman to beat Krysiak in the 79th minute.
The game then opened up as both sides went for a winner.
Gow was again at the heart of the action as his neat flick set Liam Sercombe away on a counter-attack. He then threaded a ball to Jimmy Keohane who was upended in the box by Romain Vincelot. Cureton missed the penalty, but made amends by nodding in Sercombe's cross a minute later.
The win delighted Tisdale, who also saw the fight in his team's play.
"It was a big ask, against the league leaders and to go a goal down after three minutes and to come back how we did," he said.
"It was a really tough, creative, ballsy and fantastic three points. We were very solid, we defended our set-pieces well. It is something we have worked on and it has shown in the last two games."