The visitors dominated the first half on Monday, but were let down by some poor finishing. Simeon Jackson, Stuart Lewis and Dennis Oli were all presented with good chances but failed to hit the target.
Exeter were grateful to goalkeeper Paul Jones for keeping the scores level when he made a brilliant one-handed stop, diving to his left to keep out Rashid Yussuff’s powerful header.
The Grecians threatened rarely with two Marcus Stewart shots, both of which deflected wide, and a low Ryan Harley drive all they could manage in a first half distinctly lacking in quality.
The deadlock was finally broken after 68 minutes when Richard Duffy tried his luck from distance and his shot took a wicked deflection before nestling in the net. But Exeter’s lead lasted two minutes as Gillingham responded with a Lewis drive from the edge of the box that flew into the top corner.
Exeter came closest to winning it, but Alex Russell was denied when his long range shot came back off the upright.