Match 17
30th November 1932
FA Cup 1st Round Replay
Exeter City v Southend United


Lose by One Goal to Nil in Deluge of Rain and Mud


Rain fell steadily at Exeter today from an early hour, and the field at St James's Park was in a sodden state for the F.A.Cup first round replay between Exeter City and Southend United. The teams drew 1 1 at the Kursaal last Saturday, when the Exeter goal underwent severe pressure in the closing stages and Davies saved his side from defeat. Owing to the bad weather the spectators were slow in arriving, and visions of a 12,000 "gate" were washed out by the unceasing downpour. Twenty minutes before the time of the kick off there were only 4,000 people present. Needless to say, the covered terraces opposite the grandstand were a doubly popular rallying point for the crowd. Officials of both clubs declared that on such a day it could be "anybody's game." Certainly the match promised to be a stiff test of the players' stamina. The Mayor and Mayoress of Exeter (Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Gatey) were among the spectators assembled in the grandstand.


Both clubs fielded unchanged teams. Exeter, led by Charlie Miller, were first out, and Southend followed promptly. The attendance by now was about 7,000. Miller won the toss, as last Saturday, and Exeter had the assistance of the breeze from the St James's Road end in the opening half. The referee was Mr A.C. Simmons, Bristol. Houghton initiated a fast Exeter right wing attack, but Scott's centre was intercepted by Randle, and Southend made headway for Dixon to send behind. Welsby from Childs's pass placed the ball up the middle and David Robinson of Southend sent back to Whitelaw to avoid trouble. The players found it very difficult to keep their footing on the wet field, and the movements on both sides were short and scrappy. A worse day could not be imagined, the rain simply streaming down. Exeter went ahead again on the right but sent behind, and Jones, dribbling through the Exeter half, was brought down by Clarke. Randle took the firee kick and tried a long shot, Davies fielding the ball immaculately.


A foul by Dixon on Welsby nearly cost Southend the lead. Miller placed the ball well down the field from the free kick, but on the wet turf it skidded over the goal line without any of the players touching it. A shot by Whitlow was diverted for a corner, and a rare tussle ensued in front of the United goal from Scott's fine flag-kick. Eventually Childs shot powerfully from about 20 yards out, and the ball was going strongly for the top corner of the goal when Whitelaw made a spectacular save. Southend next had a turn at attacking, and a hook shot from Morfitt dropped on top of the Exeter net. The defence of Gray and Miller was sterling a feature at this stage of the game. Another open order attack by the United saw Robson gain possession, but before he could shoot he was cleverly robbed by the overtaking Charlie Robinson. Exeter applied pressure and Higgins attempted a shot, the ball whizzing low across the goalmouth and outside. Whitelaw fisted over the bar a dangerous ball from Scott. Another rush by Higgins and his wing partner ended with Randle turning the ball over his own goal. The corner was only half-cleared, and Miller with a ground shot missed the goal by a very few inches. When Southend raided Jones tried a header, which Davies saved easily. In lashing rain with the men splashing with every step, the keen game continued in end to end style, with Exeter having slightly the better of the play.


A free kick from Scott was fisted over the bar by Whitelaw, and it was noticeable that whenever the City attacked Randle was keeping a close eye on Whitlow, the Grecians' danger man. Scott's centres were causing Southend much trouble, and from one of them Childs headed the ball against the crossbar with Whitelaw beaten. In the next minute the Southend goalkeeper saved a low drive from Miller. Welsby was making tracks up the left wing when he was fouled, and Clarke's free kick, a lob shot, went just over the bar. In a quick Southend raid Morfitt got by Miller, but slipped up in the mud and sliced the ball wide. Jones was paying the penalty of the player who holds on to the ball too long. He was covered with the mud of many falls. Southend gave away another free kick from which a header by Houghton travelled over the bar.


The Southend attacks were breaking down every time in face of the City's relentless half backs and cool and capable backs. On the other hand, the United's backs, often hard-pressed, were none too scrupulous in their stopping methods, and the number of "frees" against them was mounting very steadily. Following another well won corner Childs took deliberate aim, and had hard luck with a splendid long shot, the ball bouncing on top of the crossbar and going about half-way up the East end bank. A shot by Lewis, for Southend, was blocked by Miller, and a stronger one, by Morfitt, fielded by Davies. Gray miskicked and Miller rescued Exeter when he raced across to rob Morfitt, who had a clear field. The City captain was kicked in the leg in this incident, and was assisted off the field for treatment. Then Clarke, guarding a ball which was crossing the Exeter goal line, charged Barnett into the railings.

The rain had now almost ceased but the playing pitch was a marsh. Miller's reappearance with the Grecians was warmly welcomed, and Barnett also returned to the fray, having had some stitches in a cut lip. The players had taken advantage of the breather to change their attire. When the teams lined up it was seen that Miller was at outside left with Clarke at left back. Welsby, holding a "roving commission" on the Exeter left flank, was quickly in action, and largely through his energy the City kept play in the Southend quarters for a time. A misplaced pass by Houghton put the visitors in possession, and Davies fielded a hot shot from Morfitt. Exeter again made ground, but hesitation on the part of Scott and Higgins prevented them becoming dangerous. For some unaccountable reason the City forwards now persisted in holding the ball, and trying to dribble in the mud, Houghton and Higgins being mainly the offenders in this respect.


Eleven minutes after the start of the second half the "Shrimpers" advanced up the left wing in front of the grandstand, and from a nice centre by Robson the scoring account was opened by Morfitt, who netted at close range. Gray made a frantic effort to get to the ball, but it was already in the net. Southend's forwards in this half had adapted themselves better to the wet conditions and they had reaped their reward. Exeter, with Miller crippled and almost helpless on the left wing, were up against a big job now.

The Grecians had a chance of equalising when Higgins bore through the middle strongly, but he delayed his shot too long, Robinson finally taking the ball from him. Rain was falling heavily again and excitement ran high as the City fought hard to try to get an equalising goal. Whitlow was at last showing flashes of his best and the Shrimpers' goal had two amazing escapes. First, a centre. from Scott travelled across the front of the Southend goal, with Whitlow and Houghton both too late to get a foot to the ball, and secondly Whitlow, clean through, was in the act of shooting when Dave Robinson kicked the ball away from his feet. Forceful play by Clarke put Miller through, and the City's "new" outside left shot well, but not hard enough to beat Whitelaw.


Robinson (Southend) who was playing a great defensive game, next robbed Houghton in the act of shooting. Exeter's play in these stages was the sort they should have pulled out earlier. Time wasting tactics by Southend and strenuous efforts by Exeter characterised the closing minutes. Exeter's great fight deserved an equaliser, but the minutes were now ticking away fast. Houghton was charged off the ball when making tracks at top speed for the goal, but appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears.


Exeter made their big effort too late. The forwards did not show their best form till late in the game. By that time Miller, who had been lamed by a kick on the leg in the first half, was only a passenger, and Southend were a goal in front. Southend United were lucky to be level at the interval. Twice the framework of their goal had been struck with good shots by Childs. At the same time, the home forwards had not risen to take their opportunities as they should have done. Houghton and Higgins, with amazing folly, relied on the dribbling method instead of opening up the game with swinging passes, such as would have given the United defenders a chasing. Exeter City have lost a great Cup opportunity. They put up a fine second half fight when the odds were against them, and nothing but sheer bad luck prevented them from securing an equaliser. Southend's defence staggered under the pressure of Exeter's shock tactics in the closing stages of the game. Higgins had a great chance of netting an equaliser, but delayed too long over his shot. David Robinson played a great game in the Southend defence, and Whitelaw was a very capable goalkeeper.

The official "gate" figures are:- Attendance 6,500, with receipts of £444. Saturday's figures:- 8,505, receipts £553.

The second round tie would have brought Scarborough to St James's Park; the North Yorkshire team will now go to Southend instead. It transpires that Miller's injury is a twisted knee.


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