Gillingham boss Martin Allen believes his side have a target painted on their backs after watching Exeter come from behind to down his table-topping troops 3-2.

Despite Chris Whelpdale's fourth-minute opener the Grecians inflicted a first defeat in seven on Allen's men as 37-year-old Jamie Cureton notched his 14th and 15th goals of the season - and also missed a penalty.

Alan Gow cancelled out Whelpdale's opener with a stunning free-kick before Cureton's first on 54 minutes and while Danny Jackman lashed in a 30-yard equaliser for the GIlls, Exeter's veteran forward nodded an 87th-minute winner - two minutes after Gills stopper Stuart Nelson saved his spot-kick.

The Gills remain top however and Allen insists his side are there to be shot at, and he said: "It was a thrilling end, to a fantastic night of good old-fashioned English football, and unfortunately the result didn't go our way this time.

"They are a difficult team to break down, once again we had a team that hits us on the counter-attack, and that's going to happen when you are where we are in the league.

"Teams are playing differently now when they're playing here, which is bound to happen, they play deep with five midfielders and one up front which is difficult to break down. It's a tough challenge and it's different to what we were coming up against at the start of the year so we need to sort that out.

"I'm disappointed but not downhearted, we will march on together. I've been saying for a while now we're not quite playing at our best and I still agree with that because there is plenty more good to come from this football club. I give full credit to my players for the way they battled back into it."

Cureton took his recent goal glut to five in his last four, much to the delight of Exeter boss Paul Tisdale, who said: "Jamie is a key player for us, and he showed why yet again. He's on a rich vein of form and if you watch him when he's not on the ball you can see why.

"It's great to get a win, I've seen our fans standing in that stand before in the wind and rain, because we always seem to play here in the winter, so for them to make that journey home happy is huge.

"I'm pleased we were able to send them home happy. We've had a couple of good weeks, because we've been putting into practice what we've been putting into training."