Match 15
6th October 1969
Darlington (a)

Fireworks at Darlington but Not by Exeter


Exeter City are still without their first away win of the season and on the form displayed in their latest match, at Darlington, when they crashed 4-0, it is no wonder. Darlington completed the "double" over Exeter, and there was never a doubt as to the home side's superiority or even the result of the game. Yet for about the first half hour there was not all that much to choose between the sides.

Darlington:- Crampton; Peverell, Baxter; O'Neill, Jacques, Carr; Gauden, Felton, Robson, Hale, Sproates.

Exeter City:- Shearing; Crawford, Morris; Blain, Balson, Parker; Corr, Banks, Mitten, Wingate, Walker.

Subs: Robinson (Darlington) Pleat (Exeter City).

Both Darlington and Exeter (apart from that one match when they beat Swansea Town) have had a thin time recently, and for the first forty minutes of Monday's encounter the reason was evident. Two moderate defences dominated two weak attacks. Most of the early play was at the Exeter end, and Shearing prevented certain goals from Gauden and Hale in the opening ten minutes. Gauden, the former Sunderland winger, gave Morris a nightmare of a match, and all the other City defenders found trouble when he was on the ball. Exeter's best chance came after twelve minutes, when Banks outpaced the home defence but shot straight at Crampton. Crampton was well out of his goal, and Banks would have done better to have either dribbled round him or chipped the ball over his head. Darlington's smallest crowd of the season (2,888) found very little to cheer about, or even be cheerful about, and several policeman moved into a position behind the Exeter goal as fireworks were exploded. The home side took the lead in the 43rd minute when Jacques volleyed home following a corner. A minute later Jacques and Wingate both cut their heads in a collision and were taken off the field together.


Jacques was taken to hospital for observation, and although Wingate returned for the second half he had to retire 20 minutes from time with blood still oozing through the bandages. Darlington turned on the heat in the second half despite the loss of their centre half, and after a spell of pressure eventually obtained their second goal. Twenty-two minutes of the latter period had been played when Felton headed a corner kick downwards, and O'Neill, with his back to the goal, flicked the ball over his shoulder and into the net. Four minutes from the end O'Neill netted another goal and once again Gauden was the provider and the prime mover in this success. He beat two men before squaring the ball to Felton, who bundled into Morris. The ball ran loose and O'Neill fairly blasted it into the empty net. Two minutes from time Parker had his name taken by the referee after a heavy foul on Sproates. With the very last kick of the game Hale completed Darlington's tally, and it is almost unnecessary to state that is was from a centre by the irrepressible Gauden. Hale was left unmarked and had an easy task to shoot past Shearing from ten yards.


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