Match 12
27th September 1969
Port Vale (h)

Leaders Take Points from City 


Saturday September 27th 1969.


Exeter City failed to become the first side to beat the leaders Port Vale this afternoon at St James's Park. For threequarters of the game Exeter had not played well, but they came back in the closing stages and scored a goal, but they had left their best efforts far too late. Near the end the referee, Mr K.W.Sutcliffe, stopped the match after a cushion from the grand-stand had been thrown on to the pitch, and an announcement was made to the effectt that if there was any further trouble action would be taken.

Exeter City:- Shearing; Blain, Morris; Parker, Sharples, Balson; Corr, Giles, Wingate, Mitten, Pleat.

Port Vale:- Ball; Boulton, Wilson; King, Sproson, Green; McLaren, Gough, Wookey, James, Morris.

Subs: Walker (Exeter) and Magee (Port Vale).

Referee: Mr K.W.Sutcliffe of Rainham. Linesmen: Messrs J.R.Davies and G.D.Helier.

A poor kick by Shearing put Exeter in trouble but the defence covered up and the danger was cleared. At the other end a good move between Corr, Blain, and Pleat ended with a shot by Mitten being blocked and going for a corner, which came to nothing. Pleat was again in action when he bored his way through the middle but his shot was punched out by Ball. James for the visitors directed his header well wide from a good position. Port Vale looked the better side in the opening minutes and twice their defence ran out to catch the City offside. After Giles had had two shots blocked Corr slid a nice ground pass across the penalty area but there was no one far enough forward to take advantage.


A free kick followed to Port Vale on the edge of the City penalty area but the home defence cleared under pressure. Again Exeter were caught offside by the well-drilled Vale defence, and the Potters then won a corner from which they scored with the game 25 minutes old. Shearing and the defence combined in steering the ball to Green, who promptly drove a tremendous shot into the net from outside the penalty area. Port Vale were manifestly the better side, justifying their role as League leaders, and Exeter could have had no complaints. After 35 minutes James, who was limping after falling heavily when he needlessly stretched out for a ball that was going away from him, went off and was replaced by the substitute, Magee. From another Port Vale corner Shearing punched the ball away to Green, whose shot, on the half-volley, rose and skimmed the crossbar.


Morris stopped Port Vale immediately on the resumption at the expense of a corner, but the flag kick by Boulton went over the bar and behind the goal-line. Wilson then put a free kick straight into Shearing's hands. Continuing the better and stronger side Port Vale won another corner which was headed into the City goalmouth by Sproson, and from the ensuing melee Magee shot wide of the post. Then, after 57 minutes of play, mostly in the visiting team's favour, they increased their lead. Two Exeter defenders failed to clear Wilson's centre and McLaren volleyed the ball past Shearing from an acute angle. Exeter did their best to get back into the game and Balson put Giles through, but the move petered out through lack of speed by the City inside-right. Play was quickly transferred to the other end, and after a nice four man move the ball was placed through for Gough to try a shot, which was far too high.


Exeter were being literally overrun by the smart Valiants, and needed to show a vast improvement if they were to salvage anything from this game. With twenty minutes remaining they did get one chance, but Giles was again too slow when receiving from Corr and he was robbed by Wilson before he could get into position for a shot. On another occasion he sliced his shot well wide with only Ball to beat. After 75 minutes Giles was brought off and the substitute, Walker, replaced him. Within a minute the new player almost scored. From a free kick, lofted into the penalty area by Parker, Walker's tremendous shot was touched on to the underside of the crossbar by Ball, who managed somehow to catch the rebound and clear upfield. This was easily the nearest the City had got to scoring so far. In a further Exeter raid Pleat had a chance, but was too slow although well positioned. A corner was forced in the 81st minute, and up went Sharples to score with a powerful header, making the score 2-1 and putting Exeter back into the game. Five minutes from the end the referee halted the game following some kind of disturbance in the crowd and the throwing of a cushiom onto the pitch. He asked for an announcement to be made, and a warning stated that if anything else was thrown on the pitch action would be taken. Shortly afterwards a rousing shot by Gough was touched over the bar by Shearing. From the corner the City goalkeeper managed to push out the inswinging centre. The ball dropped to McLaren, who hooked it over the bar from six yards. Exeter were now showing more attacking ideas than previously as they fought for an equaliser, but they had left it too late.

Attendance 5,348.



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