Match 13
4th October 1978
Football League Cup 3rd Round
Bolton Wanderers (Home)


Bolton Wanderers, who will engage Exeter City at St James's Park in the third round of the Football League Cup, come to Exeter as a club which is steeped in history, but at the same time a little short of success in recent years.

The Wanderers, or the "Trotters" as they are familiarly known, who were one of the founder-members of the Football League in 1888, had their heyday in the 1920s when they won the F.A.Cup three times in seven seasons. Their first success was a 2-0 win over West Ham in the famous "white horse" final of 1923, when nearly 200,000 people tried to get in to the ground, and this match was the first to be played on the newly built Imperial Stadium at Wembley, North London. Thousands of spectators had to be removed from the pitch and the official count of the number who attended was declared to be 126,047, which is still a record.

Bolton were back at Wembley again in 1926 to beat Manchester City in the final by 1-0 and in 1929 they earned their third success in the competition with a 2-0 win over Portsmouth.

Dick Pym, the old City goalkeeper and captain played in each of those cup finals while another ex-City man Harold Blackmore played in the last one and scored one of the Bolton team's goals. The Bolton teams in those historic games lined up as follows:

1923: Pym; Haworth, Finney; Nuttall, Seddon, Jennings; Butler, Jack, J.R.Smith, J.Smith, Vizard.

1926: Pym; Haworth, Greenhalgh; Nuttall, Seddon, Jennings; Butler, Jack, J.R.Smith, J.Smith, Vizard.

1929: Pym; Haworth, Finney; Kean, Seddon, Nuttall; Butler, McClelland, Blackmore, Gibson, Cook.

Bolton, who had had four previous spells in the Second Division, were relegated again in 1933 but they returned to the First Division two years later and remained there until 1964. They had also reached the final stage of the cup competition in 1894 (lost to Notts County), in 1904 (lost to Manchester City), and 1953 (lost to Blackpool), but in 1958 they won the cup for the fourth time.

Inspired by the "Lion of Vienna" Nat Lofthouse they gained a victory by 2-0 over a Manchester United side which only a few months earlier had been ravaged by the Munich Air Disaster.

But in 1971 the famous old club underwent an unprecedented decline, and were relegated to the Third Division for the first and only time in their history. Ever since then, however, there has been a revival of the club's fortunes at Burnden Park and an upward trend.

They were champions of Division 2 last season after twice previously missing promotion by just one point. And although they have not made as good a start to the present campaign as they would have wished the Wanderers are obviously a side to be reckoned with.

There are also one or two special links between Exeter City and their new opponents in the League Cup. Several times in the past Bolton has sent a team to Exeter to play at St James's Park in benefit matches for City players, while Boltonians who have been on Exeter's books at different times include Jimmy Rigby (who became a director), Percy Hilton (for some years the Sheriff of Exeter), Stan Popplewell, Sam Howson, Harold Holt, Norman Kirkman (player-manager), Jackie Knight, and Bill Lovett. Jack Feebery and Arthur Doncaster came to Exeter on transfers from Bolton, and Charlie McClelland is the son of Jimmy McClelland, who was a Bolton player at the same time as Blackmore and Pym.or

And speaking of the two last-named, both of whom left their mark on the game after leaving St James's Park to go north and play for the Wanderers, it is understood that they have been invited to the cup tie as the special guests of the Exeter and Bolton clubs.


October 4th 1978 

The chant "Exeter City Are Magic" is one which generally echoes far too frequently from the environs of the popular bank at St James's Park, but on this occasion those true and faithful fansy had every justification for singing their song with pride. For the City had turned on a truly magnificent performance to move into the fourth round of the League Cup with a richly deserved victory over Bolton Wanderers, "The Trotters."

Exeter City 2 Bolton 1. It was a match, watched by a crowd of 9,151, which had everything that football can offer, drama, skill, excitement, goals, and it is to be regretted, even a touch of violence.

Exeter had to face a tremendous battering in the final 20 minutes of this pulsating game, but somehow they managed to survive, to reach the last sixteen in the competition for only the second time in the 100 club's history.

Exeter City:- O'Keefe; Templeman, Giles, Roberts, Hore; Delve, Randell, Hatch; Bowker, Kellow, Holman. in fear

Bolton Wanderers:- Poole; Graham, Greaves, Walsh, Burke; bald nd by Morgan, Allardyce, Smith; Whatmore, Gowling, Worthington.

Referee:- Mr B.T.Stevens of Stonehouse.
Linesmen:- Messrs P.Jackson and D.E.Tremaine.

Bolton were forced to play the last quarter of an hour with only ten men when their star forward, Whatmore, was ordered off the field by the referee for deliberately kicking a City player. Both teams displayed an abundance of skill, but one of the lasting memories of the game will be Exeter's magnificent opening goal. It was scored after just 18 minutes. Bowker with his back to the goal gained possession just inside the Bolton half and brilliantly dribbled past two defenders before putting Delve through. The little Londoner met the pass perfectly to crash a first-time shot into the top corner of the net from fully 20 yards as the defence closed in on him. By that time Delve had already had a good header saved by Poole, and Kellow had put a ground shot into the side netting. Whatmore ought to have equalised when he somehow scooped the ball over the bar from inside the goal area. Bolton, frequently drawing applause from the crowd by their skilful running into position and their rapid bursts of first time passing, continued to press forward, but they found the Exeter defence in an uncompromising mood.

However, a momentary lapse in concentration five minutes after the half-time interval cost Exeter dearly. Walsh sent over a free kick and Allardyce was allowed to rise almost unchallenged to nod the ball down to Gowling, who pivoted and drove a well placed shot into the net well beyond the reach of O'Keefe. It might so easily have been a finale for Exeter, but it was at that time when they displayed their true fighting spirit. They almost bounced right back as Hatch seized on a loose clearance to lash a left-footed shot against the Bolton crossbar. And in two minutes past the hour the City were in front again. Delve running on to a neat pass from Randell was pulled down from behind by Burke just inside the penalty line.

Kellow must have been well aware of the pressure on him as he stepped up to take the penalty kick, awarded without hesitation for the foul. But his shot, high to the left of Poole, went into the net with the speed of a bullet and gave the goalkeeper no chance. Bolton refused to give up, and they proceeded to launch wave after wave of attacks. Morgan led a series of raiding parties down each flank in turn, but even his delightful skill was not enough to find a way through the City's resolute defence.

The Programme

  • Dick Pym, now aged 85, watched the game as the special guest of both his old clubs, along with Harold Blackmore, who is a few years Pym's junior. Pym had never seen a floodlit game before and said that he enjoyed it but not the noise. He said that Bolton lost because they tried to be too fancy and that Exeter won because they played a more open game. He should know!



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