Match 15
13th October 1956
Gillingham (h)

Southern League
Cheltenham (a)

17th October 1957
Southern League
Chelmsford (h)


Mitchell Plan a Success: and Second Half Sweep Subdues Hoppers

Saturday October 13th 1956.

EXETER CITY 4 (Currie 2, Thomas, Mitchell) 

EXETER CITY Hunter Doyle Ferrier John
Harvey Porteous Buckle Thomas Mitchell
Currie Rees
GILLINGHAM Kingshott Marks Crombie
Parry Boswell Grant Baxter Taylor Brasted Morgan Lucas

The City went straight into the attack and a return pass from Currie caught Buckle offside as his shot went wide. Doyle cleared well, but a second Gillingham raid was also offside. A further attack was halted by Doyle.
There were heartening signs of life in the City's early efforts. One grand move, from Rees to John, on to Mitchell and lobbed out to the right wing for Buckle to collect, looked dangerous. But again offside came to Gillingham's help. Taylor from a free kick by Lucas, headed well wide, and generally the City defence looked capable of keeping Gillingham out. Buckle, Mitchell, and Currie neatly inter-passed their way through but once more Currie was fractionally offside. Marks had to head the ball back to Kingshott to stop Rees and then a perfect pass by Rees found Thomas in midfield. He switched it quickly to Buckle, and the centre from the right-winger looked full of danger until a clearance from Crombie rebounded off Thomas for a goal kick. Half-time arrived with the City still on the attacking, and little had so far been seen of Gillingham.

Rees on the restart moved across to the right and took a crack goalwards but the shot was blocked. Then Hunter fielded cleanly a centre from Morgan, and in the 48th minute the City were in front. From Rees the ball moved swiftly via Mitchell to Buckle. Buckle and Currie inter-passed, and finally Currie shot along the ground and out of the reach of Kingscott for the first goal. That sent the City into the attack again, and Parry only just managed to intercept a pass from Currie which would have given Mitchell the opening for a clear shot at goal. Exeter were not contend to rest on their laurels. They swarmed to the attack again and Gillingham's defence was at full stretch for a few very anxious moments. And in the 55th minute came further success. John lobbed the ball into the middle and Currie timed it perfectly to send a beautiful header into the net just inside the upright.

The City's passing was on occasions absolutely perfect, and one fine burst almost brought another goal. Mitchell's shot hit a post, and in the scramble both Rees and Parry landed in the back of the goal. But despite those two quick goals Gillingham were not finished, and John did well to kick out a centre from Brasted. Buckle dribbled stylishly along the goal-line before pulling the ball back to Thomas, who shot hard but not quite hard enough, and Kingshott saved. From the way the City were playing now they should have been half a dozen goals in front. The whole team was fighting hard, its passing was precise, and often brilliant. Gillingham's few efforts were coming to nothing against a brick-wall defence and the City nearly had another goal when Thomas first-timed Buckle's centre just over the bar. Another shot from Thomas was caught brilliantly by Kingshott, while Boswell had to head behind for a corner to save from Buckle. From the kick, taken by Rees, a beautiful header from Buckle scraped the top of the crossbar.

Mitchell fired a tremendous shot narrowly over the bar from fully 35 yards out. The City, piling on the pressure, just had to score again, and score they did when Buckle went along the goal-line and pulled the ball back for Thomas to drive in. The skill of Buckle was playing havoc with the Gillingham defence, and the way he held the ball and manoeuvred it closely round whoever came forward to tackle him was possibly the chief factor in the success of the Exeter team. Two minutes from time Currie headed the ball down for Mitchell in full stride to bang in goal number four, and Exeter continued to produce further stinging attacks until the last whistle.

This was a fine win for the City, and it showed the value gained in continuing with Arnold Mitchell as the deep-lying centre-forward. He did not excell so much in the first half, but still instilled plenty of craft into the Exeter front line, and in the second half he came more into his own. He hit out a constant stram of good passes to the men playing in front of him, and Gillingham were always at a loss in deciding how they could deal with this formation. The lively City forwards were not slow to take advantage of the gaps he created. The inside-forwards, with Thomas improving as the game progressed, darted in quickly, and the result was four good goals. In defence the City turned in their usual solid performance and only twice in the whole game did Gillingham look like scoring.

Southern League
Cheltenham v Exeter City Reserves 

Exeter City Reserves were a goal behind soon after the start of their Southern League game at Cheltenham. Burder scored after a spectacular move had split the City defence wide open. Exeter then had more of the game and a shot by Willis was well saved by Gourlay. Another shot by the same player went the wrong side of the post. In spite of the home defence covering well the City were having quite a fair share of the game. Simpson shot wide from a side-footed pass by Houghton. This followed an indirect free-kick inside the home team's penalty area. Cheltenham's forward line was always full of life, and after the game had been in progress for 22 minutes McAllister increased the lead. Rather against the balance of play Exeter reduced the arrears in the 35th minute from a fairly harmless looking situation. Simpson put over a cross which Willis, who was easily the best Exeter forward, nodded into the net. To the dismay of the Cheltenham crowd the home team allowed Exeter to draw level five minutes from the interval. The ball went across the face of the goal and Phoenix tried his luck with a low cross-shot. Gourlay cut it off but could not hold on to the ball and Willis nipped in to score. Although Cheltenham attacked on the restart it was the City who went into a 3-2 lead with a shock goal in two minutes, Beer scoring with the home defence out of position. It was not until five minutes from the end that Cheltenham managed to draw level.
City Reserves:- Bell; Foley and Parr; Major, Packer, and Houghton; Simpson, Divers, Willis, Phoenix, and Beer.

Wednesday October 17th.
Southern League:-

Exeter City Reserves 2
Chelmsford City 2, at St. James's Park, Exeter.


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