Match 20
13th December 1930
FA Cup 2nd Round
Exeter City v Coventry City
St Austell v Exeter City Reserves


A “Good Thing” Fails:
Chances That Exeter Missed
Great Goalkeeping by Allen

Saturday, December 13, 1930.



Half-time 1-1.

Exeter City: – Davies; Baugh and Miller; Clarke, Dennington, and Barber; Armfield, Purcell, Varco, Houghton, and Doncaster.

Coventry City: –
Allen; Watson and Tilford; Stokes, Baker, and Bell; Reay, Ball, Phillips, Lake, and Boden.

Referee:– Mr W.F. Bourne of Bristol.

Messrs C.E. Hoer and R.W.E. Ward.

Unbeaten in any English Cup match at St James’s Park since Accrington Stanley one there four seasons ago, although among others two famous First Division sides in Blackburn Rovers and Leeds United have challenged the Grecians in the meantime, Exeter City’s prospects of success today against Coventry city were regarded locally as being a “good thing.”

Not for a long time have the Exeter players being now a settled team been pulling together so splendidly as in recent games, and the defeat at Coventry last week notwithstanding, the Grecians have been playing finer football in the last six weeks or so than they showed at any time during the two preceding seasons. Moreover, they have developed almost to perfection a speedy and clever style of play such as generally proves highly effective in the cup-ties, with their double measure of strain and excitement.

At home this season Exeter have been defeated only once, and that occurrence dates back to September. Extensive team changes took place following that home defeat (against Bristol Rovers) and today’s Cup-tie finds the City a settled and whole-hearted combination, playing right on top of their form.

Enthusiasts from the Country Districts.

The weather before the start of the game was showery, with some brilliant rays of sunshine occasionally breaking through, and the ground was saturated with rain. Owing to the early time of the kick-off (2.15) there were only 5,000 in the ground at 2 o’clock, but the spectators then poured in steadily. The large number of cars in the roads near St James’s Park showed that there had been a big influx by road of enthusiasts from the country districts. Only a very few displayed the club colours of red and white.

Exeter, led by Dennington, were first on the field, and Coventry, in blue and white stripes, followed promptly. Davies defied superstition by wearing a green jersey, Allen, who played for Southampton in a cup-tie against Exeter City some years ago, favouring navy blue. Coventry won the toss and had the advantage of the wind and sun from the St James’s Road end in the opening half.

The Game.

Notwithstanding the fact that they had to contend with the finest display of goalkeeping seen at St James’s Park this season, Exeter City should have won by at least two goals.

Having opened the scoring within five minutes of the start, they had enough opportunities to have made the issue safe in the first half. Just before the interval, however, Coventry obtained an easy equalising goal, and succeeded in forcing a replay which will take place at Coventry on Thursday next.

Nearly ten thousand spectators saw the game. Their unanimous verdict was that Coventry were saved by Allen, who, although beaten when Varco smartly headed into the net from Doncaster’s centre, made some astonishing saves.

Two Good Chances Missed.

Purcell should have scored for Exeter after 30 minutes. Standing within the penalty area he received a perfect pass from Doncaster and took the ball to within a few yards of the Coventry goal. Then he spoilt everything by shooting straight into the arms of Allen.

A similar opportunity was presented to Armfield, who also placed a clear close range shots within Allen’s reach. This time the custodian was brought to his knees and could only partially clear, but he recovered in time to turn aside a hard shot from Doncaster, who had followed up Armfield’s attempt.

Between these two incidents the Grecians had launched many vigorous assaults, and but for Allen’s vigilance Varco must have added to his early success.

On the other hand Davies was not tested until two or three minutes before the interval. He then came out to clear a corner-kick, well placed by Reay, but he missed it, and Phillips headed the ball into an empty net. Thus all against the run of the play Coventry were able to cross over on level terms.

Exeter’s Appeal for a Penalty.

The second half was a dour struggle, in which the pace of the first half and the heavy going told their tale. Coventry were better together, and a little more of them was seen as an attacking force. Baugh and Miller saw to it that they very seldom got within striking distance, however.

On the other hand Allen was frequently in action. One of his best saves was at the expense of Houghton, who almost succeeded in converting a nice centre from Doncaster. Allen was beaten by a strong right-footer from Varco, but the ball travelled just outside the upright. The Grecians attacked hotly in the last ten minutes, and Allen saved his side repeatedly.

The last incident of note was a strong appeal for a penalty when Tilford used his hands right on the goal-line, but the referee waved the players aside.

Exeter had by far the greater share of the play, and although several chances were missed, their performance entitled them to more than one solitary goal. The whole team played exceedingly well, especially Dennington, who excelled in a fine constructive and defensive game at centre-half, and Miller and Baugh, whose defence was generally too strong for the Coventry forwards to break down. The official attendance was 9,600, with receipts of £666.


The Grecians had chances enough and to spare in the first half, and they would have been in a commanding position at half-time but for some bad luck in front of the visiting goal and some very fine goalkeeping by Allen.

Coventry were outplayed in the first period, but having equalised by means of a very simple goal right on half-time they settled down to a more workmanlike game in the second half.

Exeter slackened off for a long time after the change of ends. The turf was very heavy and the players must have had a gruelling time of it.


Exeter City Reserves were a strong side in the friendly match at St. Austell, and very speedy. In three minutes they were a goal to the good, McCosh netting with a low drive which gave Marshall (St Austell goalkeeper) no chance. The Saints had an opportunity of equalising when Pine was fouled inside the penalty area. Pine took the kick himself, but Jones made a thrilling save. The City went further ahead after 34 minutes, McCosh kicking the ball out of Marshall's hands into the net. St Austell made a few attacks, but could not get going, and their efforts were easily broken up by Gray and Shanks. Halliday added a third goal for Exeter with the last kick of the first half. After the interval Exeter added two more goals in seven minutes, first Parsons and then Allison scoring. St Austell played about with the ball far too much, and two or three good scoring chances were frittered away. Parsons scored the sixth goal for Exeter, and with the last kick of the game. Petherick scored for the Cornishmen.

The City team was: Jones; Gray, Shanks; E.Keefe, Angus, Inglis; Allison, McCosh, Parsons, Halliday, and Lister.


All three of Devon's professional clubs were featured in the draw for the third round of the F. A. Cup competition, announced today in London.

Exeter City or Coventry City v Derby County,
Bury v Torquay United,
Plymouth Argyle v Everton.

Matches to be played on the ground of the first-named club, on January 10th 1931, kick-off 2.30 p.m.


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