Match 30
24th January 1931
FA Cup 4th Round
Bury (a)

Western League
Yeovil & Petters Utd (a)

Fourth Round of the F.A. Cup.

Saturday, January 24, 1931.

Bury versus Exeter City 

City Beat All Records


Bury, having performed a League “double” at Plymouth Argyle’s expense, and beaten Torquay United in the Cup, were expected to complete the mopping up of the Devonshire clubs today at Gigg Lane, with a nice win against Exeter city.

Exeter Meet Some Old Friends.

The Exeter City party had a hearty send-off at St. David’s Station yesterday afternoon, and on reaching Manchester were met at London Road Station by two old friends in Dick Pym and Jimmy Makin. Dick, who has not played for twelve weeks, but is doing some scouting these days on Bolton’s behalf, declared that he would most certainly be at Bury today and that he believed the Grecians had a very good chance of success.

The weather was stormy and cold at Manchester, and players after dinner took part in a billiards handicap, Armfield beating Clarke in the final.

This morning many of the City supporters who travelled up by the night railway excursion conveying some hundreds of enthusiasts, most of whom sported Exeter City’s colours, reached the Grand Hotel at breakfast time and said that they had had a splendid non-stop run.

The City players after breakfast went for a stroll to loosen their limbs, and then returned to the Hotel for a light lunch. The weather was dreary. There had been heavy hailstorms in the night, now it was windy and damp.

Eddy Jones’s Winning Goal.

The Grecians were all fighting fit, according to Eddy Jones, the trainer. The same Eddy Jones, who in season 1910-11 when the only Cup-tie Exeter City have won in Lancashire by kicking the winning goal against Nelson from the penalty spot, said that a very healthy team-spirit existed in the Exeter City camp, and all the players were ready and eager for the fray at Bury.

At one o’clock the City party left Manchester by ‘bus for the Bury ground, an enclosure on which several of them have played before.

Some of the Manchester United and Manchester City players had warned the Bury players that they had a serious task on hand, but at the same time expressed the view that the “Shakers” would produce their best form and win easily. Further, as Manchester City are out of the Cup, and without a fixture in the League, and as Manchester United are away to Grimsby, it was anticipated that many Manchester folk would swell the Bury attendance figures this afternoon. Exeter’s players were quietly confident and hopeful of becoming the first team to win at Bury this season. The Grecians were wearing natty favours of red and white ribbons, with white heather and silver lucky horse shoes, which had been presented to them by the firm of Dellers.

The excursionists from Exeter included many who had made the journey to Blackburn three years ago, and it was freely stated that if the Grecians could play as well as they had done at Ewood Park on that occasion Bury would be in for a rude awakening.

Direct to Wembley!

The ‘bus driver who was conveying the Grecians to the ground caused some fun when he drove some distance past Gigg Lane before being called to order by the City players. He said he was driving the team direct to Wembley!

The Bury playing pitch justified its high reputation. It was soft after the rain yet it looked in wonderful condition for this time of the year. A strong wind was blowing from goal to goal, so that the winning of the toss would be a great help to one of the teams in the first half.

As previously announced Bury relied on the team which beat Torquay United at Plainmoor in the replay of the third round tie on January 14th. The City had young Jack Angus at centre-half for Dennington, who incurred a serious knee injury in the League match at Torquay, and Miller captained the side.

Bury: – Hardy; Chester and Bradshaw; Porter, Bullock, and Robinson; Robbie, Hope, Smith, Grass, and Amos.

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

Referee: – Mr E.C. Carnwell, of Litchfield.

Some of the excursionists from Exeter were gorgeously decorated in the City colours and were provided with rattles. A great cheer signalised the entrance to the field of the Bury eleven, then there was another fine reception for the City, who followed a minute later. The attendance at this time was about ten thousand, and the spectators were still pouring in.

Bury Win the Toss.

Norman Bullock, the old English International centre-forward, now a successful centre-half, won the toss, and so the City had to face the wind in the first chapter.

Bury at once forced a corner, but the wind carried Amos’s centre behind the goal. When Davies moved to the ball to take the goal kick Smith was penalised for impeding him unfairly. Another corner to Bury brought them no advantage. Then Houghton set the City on the attack, but Chester relieved the pressure, and Amos rounded both only to be robbed by Clarke with a fine tackle. Exeter then had a very narrow escape. Following the throw-in Amos booted in to the goal area, and Smith got his head to the ball and turned it sideways and low to the goalmouth. Davies, however, made a thrilling save, throwing himself at the ball and pushing it round the upright. The corner was cleared by Baugh. So far Bury had done almost all the attacking and won four corners, but they were finding the strong wind rather difficult.

Houghton delighted the Exeter followers by dribbling cleverly past Bullock, but when the ball was put through to the centre Varco was offside.

Exeter were replying steadily to the Bury challenge now and Armfield took the ball to the corner flag, his attempted centre being obstructed by Bradshaw.

Making full use of the wind by powerful and accurate kicking the men in the blue and white pressed strongly again. Davies coolly fielded a piledriver from Robbie, and the Exeter goal, well covered though it was, had one or two narrow escapes.

Houghton the Genius.

Suddenly Exeter broke away and made a highly dangerous raid, and Houghton was again the genius of the piece. He sent Doncaster away with a clear field and the left winger took the ball in close to the goalmouth. His shot was punched out by Hardy with a steady fist, the wind carrying the ball far down-field. Bullock and Robbie both fired in shots at the Exeter goal, but each was wide of the mark. Quarter-time arrived with the score-sheet blank, and Baugh, Miller, and Davies shared the honours in their cool defence of the Exeter goal.

Another Brilliant Getaway.

Then there was another brilliant getaway and centre by Doncaster, and Bradshaw came to the rescue of Bury with a splendid headed clearance.

Barber was injured and lead off the field by Eddy Jones, but resumed after an absence of about a minute.

In a lightning Bury attack three shots missed the Exeter goal by inches, Davies eventually saving from Amos.

Varco with a nice pass sent Armfield away but Bradshaw intervened. Amos shot wide from fifteen yards, and followed this with a second miss. Bury, with all the play apart from one or two isolated Exeter breakaways in their favour, were becoming worried by their non-success, and although they were playing towards the goal they are reputed to like best, and had the advantage of the powerful wind, they still had nothing to show for all their strong attacks.

Robbie, venturing into the middle, was neatly robbed by Angus and Clarke, and a brief Exeter attack was easily repelled by Bullock.

Varco Scores.

Cool and confident work by Angus then lead to Doncaster getting away on the left wing. He raced past Chester and centred accurately, and there was a short and sharp scramble in the Bury goalmouth. The ball went to Varco, and with Hardy out of position and Bradshaw under the crossbar Varco shot coolly into the net for the opening goal of the game, six minutes before half-time.

The travelling supporters shouted themselves hoarse, and with very good reason. Varco’s goal was just the tonic Exeter needed, and they packed their goal in true First Division style in the face of the stern Bury counter-attacks for the remainder of the first half, with Davies an outstanding figure in the last line of defence. The Exeter players had a great ovation from their supporters as they filed off the field at the interval, and they richly deserved it, for with all the conditions favouring Bury the City team had given a remarkably fine and steady display.

The defence, which had borne the brunt of almost continuous attacks from the Lancastrians, had shaped grandly, and the play of young Angus, whose task it was to mark J.R. Smith, the famous ex-Bolton centre-forward, was a revelation. Clarke and Barber had also done their bit, and Houghton had shown his usual brilliant touches in his attempts to get the forwards moving.

Half-time score: Bury 0 Exeter City (Varco) 1.

Davies, who had been one of Exeter’s outstanding defensive heroes in the first half, was hoping for an easier time after the interval, now that it was the City’s turn to take advantage of the wind by strong kicking.

But it was evident from the early play that Bury were by no means done with, and immediately on the restart they broke through, and Amos, who had been the chief sinner at missing goals in the first half, was checked by Miller with a grand tackle inside the City penalty area.

The City took up the running and Purcell went very close with a ferocious shot from about 25 yards’ range.

In the next minute, following a throw-in by Barber in front of the grandstand, Houghton tried a spectacular long shot which he had the joy of seeing swerve and drop under the bar and into the goal, Hardy being completely deceived by the flight of the ball. So Exeter were now two goals ahead and the second half was only eight minutes old.

Bury Getting Desperate.

Robbie next tried to steal a march on Miller, but the Exeter captain by good positional play was too clever for him. The next time Robbie got away he sent the ball across to Smith, whose header travelled wide of the goal.

Bury were getting desperate. Unbeaten on their own ground this season, they now found the game was taking a course which they had not expected. Exeter were in this half charged with every confidence and Angus was fitting admirably into the scheme of things.

Hope was spoken to by the referee for a foul on Davies, who had to be attended to by the trainer for a kick on the thigh.

Hardy saved from Purcell and Armfield in turn, and from a corner on the right Varco gave the Bury goalkeeper a stiff shot to deal with.

The City half-backs, with Angus now outstanding, were dominating the game, and keeping more than a close grip on the home forwards, who in consequence had no chance whatsoever, and were becoming a very ragged line. Bullock tried to open up the game with wide passes to Robbie and Amos, but the City defence was more than equal to every emergency. Angus became more and more prominent, and there could be no question now of the superiority of the Grecians, and Bury’s share of the game became mostly a defensive one.

Davies fisted out a shot by Robbie, but Exeter were soon back at the Bury end, Doncaster beating the defence by clever football and forcing a corner, Hardy finally saving from Purcell under the crossbar. Robbie was finding Barber at least his equal and mostly his superior, and on the few times he got by Barber he had the cool and clever Miller to deal with. Doncaster was fouled badly by Chester, who received an admonishment from the referee. Hardy fielded a free kick from Barber, and Exeter continued to apply great pressure on the Bury goal.

Exeter, clearly the stronger side at this stage of the game, were now sensing victory, and Bury made one or two desperate but forlorn attempts to break down the visiting defence. Davies with a save from Bullock made the art of goalkeeping look easy, but with only a minute to go for the final whistle he was penalised for carrying the ball, and following the free kick Robbie scored. Varco was stunned by a full-blooded clearance kick from Hardy, and was taken off the field. He recovered in the dressing room, where he shared fully in the jubilation over the victory. Final score: –

Bury (Robbie) 1 Exeter City (Varco Houghton) 2

The Exeter City defence bore the honours of the match. They were in splendid form from first to last, one and all.

And now the City have the flag of Devon flying in the Cup tournament, and have broken Bury’s much prized ground record with a match they most wanted to win. Mr Carnwell,
of Lichfield, deserves a tribute for his fine refereeing. In every respect he controlled the match perfectly.

How the City’s Victory Was Received in Exeter.

The evening paper newsvendors must have thought that an avalanche had descended upon them when the news was announced in the “Football Express” that the City had vanquished Bury by two goals to one in the Cup-tie in Lancashire. Outside the newspaper offices this afternoon crowds of people lined the streets, in anxious anticipation, waiting for the news to come through. A whisper became a crescendo as the first buyer of the paper saw the amazing announcement of the great victory.

There was a “whoop” of unrestrained delight, then the whole horde of people advanced upon the overwhelmed vendors like a human tidal wave. The excitement was manifold, and people were falling over each other in their efforts to buy the papers. Similar scenes occurred at Exmouth, where a large crowd had gathered to find out how the City had fared.

The heaviest defeat suffered by any Exeter City side

Western League

Playing at the Huish Ground, Yeovil, the City Reserves were five goals to nil behind at half-time, and twelve at the close of play, this being the heaviest defeat ever suffered by an Exeter City team in any match. The goals were scored by McNeil (2), Bloxham (1) and Edmunds (2) in the first half, and Jordan, Edmunds (3), Bloxham, McNeil, and Connaboy in the second. But in view of the first team result at Bury probably nobody minded very much.


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