Match 18
ECFC v Bristol Rovers
07.12.1921
FA Cup 5Q Replay

THE CUP

Exeter City 0-2 Bristol Rovers
Scorers: STEELE, BALL.

REPLAY, AT ST. JAMES'S PARK. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7.

The sterling display of the Grecians at Stapleton Road, last Saturday, in their F. A. Cup Fifth Preliminary Round tie versus Bristol Rovers, ensured a huge mid-week crowd for today's repla at St James's Park. Cheap rail tickets were issued to Exeter from stations over a wide area, and there was an excursion from Temple Meads, Bristol, to carry those of the Rovers' supporters able to make the trip, and Exeter itself was keen on being strongly represented at the match.

It was the first cup-tie at Exeter since Aston Villa came here in January, 1914.

DOCKRAY AND VOWLES ABSENT

The City team was not selected definitely until this morning, and it was then announced that Dockray, Vowles, and Graham were all "hors de combat," through injuries received in Saturday's contest. The directors therefore decided to entrust James Green, the hefty youngster from Preston North End, with the leadership of the attack, to transfer Crompton from inside right to inside left, to introduce Alf. Green at inside right as Newman's partner, and to place Brown at left half.

Exeter's defence, which served the club so well at Bristol, was again virtually and on it, and a snap goal by the forwards the hopes of the City following rested.

Alf and Jim Green were expected to infuse plenty of dash into the Exeter vanguard, but the absence of Dockray was particularly regretted. Bristol Rovers had the advantage of being able to put out their full side, Leigh having recovered from his illness.

At St James's Park the turf was in tip-top condition, being slightly on the soft side.

The Exeter City Military Band beguiled the period of waiting, a feature of their musical programme being Scotch selections, and several of the popular refrains were taken up by the crowd.

Club colours were very generally sported, and Bristol's favours were much in evidence, showing that a large contingent had made the trip. At 1.45 o'clock the crowd numbered 5,000, and people were still streaming in steadily. The teams were as follows:

EXETER CITY
Watson
Stewart Pollard
Rigby Mitton Brown
Newman, Green (A) Green (J) Crompton, Congdon

BRISTOL ROVERS
Whatley
Panes, Kissock
Steele, Simms, Winspear,
Palmer, Ball, Leigh, Morgan, Walter

A great cheer went up when Crompton led his men out at five minutes to two o'clock, and the Rovers also had a fine welcome. Crompton's success with the toss for choice of ends was also warmly applauded and the City held the St James's Road end in the first period. Sharp at 2 o'clock play opened, Bristol took up an attacking position, and a shot from Steele sailed over the bar. Exeter changed the venue, and kept up pressure for a moment or two, but presently, in an individual break-away Walter got round Pollard and closed in on the City goal, finally whipping the ball across to Leigh, who headed wide.

DEFENCES TAKING NO RISKS

Mitton sent Newman away in style, and the winger beat Kissock for pace, and centred, but the ball was cleared. Exeter made a second attack on the right, and were awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area. Newman middled the ball nicely, and an exciting moment followed, Whatley gathering a header from the elder Green, and being strongly beset by two City forwards. The play was very scrappy, both defences declining to take any risks, and the ball was frequently in touch. Panes dispossessed Alf Green and cleared upfield, and a good drive by Walter saw the ball speeding towards the top corner of Exeter's net, but Watson jumped and fister the leather away. Panes was hurt in a collision with J.Green, but recovered, and the Bristol right back came to the rescue of his side in the next move by Exeter, with Alf Green advancing goal-wards.

APPEAL FOR A PENALTY

More cool and clever work on the City right wing delighted the crowd, which now numbered eight thousand. Exeter pressed again, and when Congdon middled the ball Kissock appeared to handle it. Newman and Alf Green appealed to the referee for a penalty, the appeal being strongly backed by the crowd, but the referee ignored the incident.

Whatley saved a header from Mitton, and in the very next minute Alf Green "brought down the house" with a sudden drive, the ball speeding along the ground towards the right hand corner of the net, but Whatley, who was having far more to do than in the previous game, dived to his right and smothered the shot. A free kick was given Exeter for a foul by Simms on Alf Green, but Crompton, who took a direct shot, banged the ball against an opponent. Three minutes before the interval Watson saved from Leigh, and at the other end Congdon drove the leather across the Rovers goal to Jimmy Green, whose first-time shot flashed by the upright with about twelve inches to spare.

Right on the interval, and against the run of the play, Bristol scored. Watson punched out a shot from Winspear, and the ball was put back by another player towards the Exeter goal, landing midway between Watson and Steele, who was following up. Watson raced out of his goal and tried to clear with a flying kick, but the ball struck Steele's legs and rolled into the net.

THE SECOND HALF

Exeter were unlucky to be in arrears at half-time, for they had enjoyed by far the better of the game in the first half, and most of the play had been at Bristol's end of the field. Mitton, whose right knee was damaged. He quickly resumed. Play was again exciting, but by no means skilful, and the first incident of note was a fast shot from Morgan, twelve yards out, Watson fisting out. The rebound, by Leigh, was driven over the bar. At the other end a long shot by J.Green was ably dealt with by Whatley. Then Walter was pulled up uncermoniously by Stewart in a sudden breakaway by Bristol, and back at the Bristol end again a strong shot by J.Green cleared the crossbar by inches only.

BALL SCORES FOR THE ROVERS

Bristol next had the City defence guessing with some forceful combined play, in fact, the best football of the match so far. Watson saved from Simms, then a corner was conceded on the Exeter right, and taken by Palmer. The ball was swung across at just the right height and pace, and Ball headed it into the net for the Rovers's second goal.

Exeter got on the move again straight from the kick-off, and a brilliant shot from Congdon was tipped over the bar by Whatley. Winspear was cautioned for a foul on J.Green, and a free kick given, but this came to nothing. Leigh received a nice pass from Walter, and struck the goal frame-work with a great shot. Fifteen minutes of play remained. The City forwards, expertly marshalled by Ellis Crompton, stuck to their guns determinedly, and again Congdon experienced hard luck with a flashing shot that grazed the crossbar. Simms fouled J.Green, and Mitton drove the ball over the bar from the free-kick.

A dangerous situation developed when Pollard handled, but the free kick, taken by Simms, cannoned off the legs of one of the City defenders. Right at the end, from a pass by Walter, a great chance was provided for Leigh, but he shot weakly along the ground and Watson cleared.

NOTES ON THE GAME

Exeter were the better side up to the interval, but allowed the Rovers to score a soft goal on the stroke of half-time. The second goal was also a simple affair, although the corner from Palmer and the header by Ball were perfectly executed. Bristol Rovers showed glimpses of sparkling football after the interval, and the return of the powerful Leigh to their forward line made a big difference. John Dockray was badly missed. The two Greens played with fine ash and any amount of pluck, but the forwards were rarely seen as combined attacking force. Stewart and Mitton were outstanding in fence for Exeter, and Whatley, in the Bristol goal, brought off many fine saves.

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