Match 01
August 18th 1956
Coventry City (a)

Southern League
Llanelli (h)

City Late Improved in Second Half

Saturday August 18th.
COVENTRY CITY  1 (Chalmers) 
Referee, Mr R.E.Smith, of Newport.
Half-time score, Coventry 0 Exeter 0. Attendance 20,100.
COVENTRY:- Matthews, Austin, Curtis Regan, Kirk, Simpson, Johnson, Chalmers, McPherson, Hill, Sambrook
EXETER CITY:- Hunter, Doyle, Mitchell
John, Parr, Porteous, Simpson, Divers Burke, Currie, Buckle

Exeter City all but missed the start of the new season. Their train arrived an hour and five minutes late at Birmingham, and the players had to scramble into the luggage-van of a late Coventry-bound train. A sandwich lunch had to be snatched en route to Coventry but with a fleet of taxis waiting at the station the team got on to the ground with 25 minutes to spare. John Divers and Jim Currie were making their first appearances in the City's colours, while Coventry's only newcomer was the inside right, Dennis Chalmers, from Rotherham United. When Mitchell led the Exeter team out there were plenty of vacant spaces on the banks, but crowds of people were still streaming in. Coventry won the toss and Exeter, kicking off, started a raid which ended with Burke heading the ball over the bar. First a centre from Buckle had been cleared. But Divers pushed the ball first-time to Simpson, and it was from this winger's centre that Burke made his header. Coventry, whose football in the early stages was nothing to write home about, nevertheless asserted themselves as the game wore on, and the City defence was under a good amount of pressure. The best way to describe the difference between the two teams in the first half is to say that while Coventry looked as if they had played half-a-dozen matches already it was apparent that it was the City's first.
Twenty-five minutes after half-time Coventry took the lead. Johnson tricked Porteous and touched the ball inside. Chalmers headed it goalwards and downwards. Hunter went full-length but the ball bounced on the ground, over his hands and into the goal. Within a minute Hunter had to go full-length again, at McPherson's feet, and he saved well. Hunter again came to the rescue when he blocked a centre right off the top of McPherson's head. The City had a free kick on the edge of the penalty area when Kirk handled to stop Divers, but Matthews held Buckle's shot. Then with the City defence spreadeagled Hill looked a certain scorer until Porteous raced across and cleared. Burke had a hard shot blocked as the City found a breath of new life, but following that Coventry took over again. Heavy rain was falling when Exeter made another spurt, and Matthews was called into action twice, but not seriously troubled. The City's start to the new season was nothing to enthuse about, although after their late arrival the quality of their football did improve in the second half. But really good football by either side was nearly non-existent, and it was Coventry's extra strength rather than anything else that won them the points. The City's defence after a panicky start settled down fairly well and in the forward line Divers and Currie gave promise of better things to come.

Southern League

New boys John Ferrier and Eric Phoenix were on view at St. James Park in the Southern League fixture against Llanelly, which opened the season's home programme today.

CITY RESERVES:- Lobbett; Foley, Ferrier; Packer, Harvey, Houghton; Thomas, Willis, Sword, Phoenix, Rees.
LLANELLY:- Gwynne; Howells, Gallagher; Loftus, Whiteside, Thomas; O'Driscoll, Hamblett, Scrine, McCarthy, Howells.
REFEREE:- Mr G.F.J.Sawyer, of Weston-super-Mare.

Houghton beat Loftus and Howells to send Rees down the wing but Sword was slow to the final pass and the Llanelly defence cleared. Willis drove the ball over the bar in a second City attack before a corner was forced at the other end, where Lobbett was safe with the header from Hamblett. Then after about 20 minutes Thomas, receiving from Phoenix, gave the City the lead with a stunning shot. Gwynne, who had previously saved from Rees and Sword, was completely beaten this time. Within seconds the City were two goals up, Sword running through and shooting the ball past the advancing goalkeeper. Rees next scored a goal which was disallowed for an infringement, and in a sudden downpour of rain following bright sunshine Sword obtained goal number three. Half-time Exeter Reserves 3 Llanelly 0. Rees headed a fourth goal for the City and Willis brought the score up to 5-0 in the 78th minute. Hamblett scored for Llanelly, the game ending 5-1 in favour of the City Reserves. A very good start to the Southern League programme.



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