Match 31
1st March 1913

Two More Points: City Now Fourth 

  • Exeter City 2 Gillingham 0.

The City maintained their high position in the League table with a win against Gillingham, at St. James's Park, and in fact they went up one place, as Millwall and Reading both lost. With twenty-eight matches completed Exeter are now fourth. The position at the top of the Southern League table has now
become more interesting than ever. For the last three seasons at this period of the campaign Exonians chief concern has been the positions of the bottom clubs. Today, they are weighing up the possibilities of the Championship, a word which previous to today has always been outside the Grecians' vocabulary. As a matter of fact today's Southern League results leave the City with a chance of the Championship, - not a good chance, but  still a distinct chance, which other clubs cannot afford to ignore. Another point is that these other clubs have stiffer matches ahead than the City have, with the possible exception of Plymouth Argyle, the Exonians' old rivals, who, in the absence of any other slips like the one against West Ham (who won at Home Park by 2-0) must be regarded as one of the first favourites. Compared with the outstanding matches of the Rangers, Crystal Palace, and Millwall, however, Exeter have a big advantage, and the match at Northampton next Saturday is, all-important remaining tests in their programme. course, one of the

A Tremendous Incentive.
A win on the Cobblers' ground will have a moral value, apart from its value of two points. It would put the City on a relative equality with both the present leaders, and its influence as a tremendous incentive to go even further ahead would be bound to bear its fruit. Northampton are still a very good side. They have descended this year because their defence has not be so good as it was in recent years, but all the same, it must be remembered that they always have an awkward knack of doing well against the City.

The Financial Bogey.
From the playing point of view these are the palmiest days the Grecians have yet known. Yet all the time the "financial bogey" stalks at their heels, as witness a gate of only £87 today for a club fourth in the table. It is true that Gillingham are little or no attraction, but the financial return was disappointing, to say the least, in view of the way things are going just now. In the same way that Gillingham are little or no attraction, it has to be admitted that since they have been in first class company Exeter have never been much of an attraction on other grounds, and £100 has seldom been taken on the occasion of any of their visits. They are a team that nobody regards with any particular favour. To a good many clubs (Exeter and Plymouth, in particular) the match at Gillingham entails a big expense and a very tiring journey, and the "Hoppers" certainly cannot boast about having anything like an up-to-date ground. To be quite candid, nobody outside Gillingham would trouble much about the club's fate should they finish in the last two. On present form they are certainly heading straight towards relegation, and there has not been a poorer side at St. James's Park this season. They were thoroughly disjoined and weak, both individually and as a combination. Their forwards were all at "sixes and sevens", and apart from the first ten minutes, when they did all their best work, there was never anything like a touch of class in the forward line. Caldwell, who was a winger of great promise at West Ham, was infected with the incompetence of his colleagues, and Boden, the old Argyle leader, kept on fishing for chances only to be crowded off the ball almost as soon as he got it. Goffin was the best of the line, but he was never good enough to threaten real danger, and he missed the one good chance that Gillingham had in the opening stages before the City had fully got the measure of the opposition. The ball came to him beautifully from Caldwell, but he lashed out and put it into St. James's Road.

The Game.
Gillingham opened with plenty of dash, and in the first ten minutes or so kept Exeter busily defending. Several times the ball went just wide of the City goal, and the best chance of all was blazed high over the bar and out of the ground. Then there was a transformation. Rutter dashed through on his own and gave Bailey a "handful", whilst immediately afterwards Cooper headed a smart goal from Ives's centre. Exeter continued. to attack, and the second goal was not long delayed, Crompton's shot rebounding into the net off the goalpost.

Peace Restored.
Exeter City commanded the play, but there was one exciting incident at their end shortly before the half-time interval. Gillingham won a corner, and during the melee which followed the flag-kick they appealed for a penalty for "hands". Exeter protested, but Mr Ross upheld the appeal, and Johnson netted from the spot. The kick was ordered to be retaken, a Gillingham player having crossed the line, but Pym saved the second attempt. As he cleared the ball Johnson charged him over, this action being resented by Exeter's goalie, and immediately there developed a "scene", with a crowd of players furiously arguing, but peace was fortunately restored by the referee, without anything of a more serious character occurring. The original penalty, by the way, was given against Hurst.
Half-time: City 2 Gillingham 0.

Second Half.

The second half was a very scrappy affair, neither side ever shaping for goals. With the exception of their display in the opening stages Gillingham were a poor side, and their position at the bottom of the table not being a false one. They badly lack a general Lee being too clumsy at centre-half. Boden tried to pull his forwards together, but there was little or no understanding. The City were much below form, and gave a weak exhibition in comparison with the sort of football they played at Park Royal and the Palace, and even at Norwich. As has been the case in a few other matches recently, Whittaker was not given half enough work, and with the ball continually going to Crompton and Ives, the visitors were able to concentrate on stopping the left wing. A change of tactics would have been beneficial to Exeter.

CITY Pym; Fort, Hurst; Rigby, Lagan, Lockett; Rutter, Crompton, Whittaker, Cooper, and Ives.
GILLINGHAM Bailey; Mosley, Leslie; Mahon, Lee, Johnson; Goffin, Taylor, Boden, Wolstenholme, and Caldwell.

Referee: Mr G.J.Ross, of Aldershot.

Plymouth and District League.

Oreston were on their best form on their own ground, beating the Reserves by three goals to nil. The high wind and sloping ground were partly to blame for the City's defeat, but an inexplicable lapse from their normal form was the main cause.

Wednesday, March 5th.
Friendly Match.

At St. James's Park. Pym, Rigby, Ives, and Cooper turned out, and the College had little chance against this combination. Brooksbank scored for Exeter in the first half, by the end of which the City led, one - nil. Brooksbank scored three more goals after the interval. The College had one chance to score from Lloyd's centre, but Barkell failed to trap the ball.


  • Position of Exeter City:
  • Four More Away Games.

Exeter City are only one point behind the two leaders of the Southern League table. They hold fourth position, and by reason of the nature of the fixtures still ahead of them, they are reckoned to have a chance of the Championship. That chance will not be quite extinguished if they are defeated at Northampton on Saturday, but it will certainly be materially damaged. Indeed, this will be a crucial match in every sense of the word. It has been something new this week, to hear and read of the Grecians being seriously considered in connection with the Championship, and remembering the anxieties of the last three seasons, it was a matter of some astonishment when one of the London daily newspapers presented its heading: "Can Exeter Win the Southern League?" It used to be "Can they escape relegation?" Times havechanged, with a vengeance.

Remaining Fixtures.

There are no fewer than eight clubs still in the running, and two points alone divide the first from the seventh, while the Argyle, with only four points less than Queen's Park Rangers, have played fewer matches than any team, three fewer, indeed, than the City.

  • The remaining fixtures of each of the clubs are given:

THE RANGERS (12): Home: Portsmouth, Bristol Rovers, West Ham,
Reading, Coventry, Merthyr Town. Away: Plymouth Argyle, Exeter City, Reading, Brighton, Watford, Crystal Palace.

THE PALACE (11): Home: Plymouth Argyle, Bristol Rovers, Reading, Gillingham, Queen's Park Rangers, Watford. Away: Stoke, Bristol Rovers, Southampton, Norwich, Northampton.

EXETER CITY (10): Home: Queen's Park Rangers, Coventry City, Millwall, Swindon, Stoke. Away: Northampton, Coventry, Bristol Rovers, Brentford, Portsmouth.

SWINDON (11): Home: Millwall, Merthyr, Stoke, Portsmouth, West Ham. Away: Brent ford, Northampton, Bristol Rovers, Merthyr Town, Exeter City, Brighton.

WEST HAM (11): Home: Northampton, Brighton, Brentford, Bristol Rovers, Portsmouth. Away: Gillingham, Reading, Queen's Park Rangers, Brighton, Millwall, Swindon.

READING (11): Coventry, West Ham, Queen's Park Rangers, Merthyr Town, Plymouth Argyle, Norwich. Away: Watford, Rangers, Crystal Palace, Southampton, Stoke.

MILLWALL (10): Home: Bristol Rovers, Portsmouth, Argyle, West Ham, Coventry. Away: Swindon, Argyle, Exeter, Brighton, Watford.

PLYMOUTH ARGYLE (13): Home: Merthyr Town, Gillingham, Brentford, Rangers, Millwall, Southampton, Norwich, Northampton. Away: Crystal Palace, Stoke, Millwall, Reading, Gillingham.


It can readily be seen from the above that Plymouth Argyle have the easiest list of all, although they have games at the Palace, Millwall, and Reading. 

their away Everything considered, however, Exeter's outstanding fixtures may fairly be regarded as the next easiest, for matches are now all against clubs in the bottom half of the table, while another distinct advantage to them is in the fact that they play host at St. James's Park to three of their most prominent rivals, namely Millwall, Swindon, and the Rangers.

Whichever way it is looked at, the struggle this year is very close, and it would be surprising, in fact, if the League is won by a margin of more than one point.


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