24th January 1953
Bideford Town (a)
Saturday, January 24th 1953.
ECFC 0-0 Gillingham
CITY v GILLINGHAM
League 3rd Division South.
St James's Park, Exeter.
GILLINGHAM'S WORTHY POINT
Manager Clark had hopes of signing at least one new player in time for the match-he had made. firm offers for three or four during the week-but advanced negotiations have yet to be completed. The omission of Scarth meant that an- other outside right had to be found from slender resources and the choice fell on Billy Hall, the reserve centre forwardWith McKee not fully recovered from his ankle injury, the left half position was filled by George Forrester. Just before the kick off George King had a bilious attack and though he was. game enough to play was unable to do himself justice. On the face of things Gillingham's prospects have looked much brighter than they did on this occasion but in spite of everything Gillingham played quite a good, hard game, outstayed Exeter at the finish and the City were amply satisfied to avo d defeat. Though Exeter may have had more of the play Gillingham held the balance in those incidents of possible goals which showed the merit of their attacks nothwithstand- ing a below strength line-up. But with no discredit to the forwards there is no doubt that Gillingham's defence took most of the laurels of the game.
Most of the Exeter City players forgot that professional football should be played along the ground. Instead they ballooned the ball into the air with irritating frequency and so made the task of the tall Gillingham defence easy. There was a minimum of co-operation between the Halfbacks and forwards. The Exeter attack suffered through weaknesses in the inside positions and had little to commend it. Collectively the line seldom functioned.
Whilst a division of points was the fair result of a keenly contested match, the better constructive movements came from Gillingham. The visiting teams positioning was keener than Citys. Nothing was wrong with the City defence in which Kelly stood out. He took every ball clearly in this game and his anticipation was so good that not one of the many grand saves looked really difficult.
The game failed to live up to its promise of the opening 20 minutes, City tried with strong bids down the wings and down the middle, but afterwards the exchanges were generally dictated by dour defences who dropped the iron curtain to bar progress of the rival attacks. Only once did City break through, that being in the 2nd half when a quick through pass from Dailey was chased by Mitchell but the Gillin,nam Goalkeeper made a good save to concede a corner when the City forward tried to chip the ball into the net.
Receipts £796. 19s. 3d.
Referee:- Mr R.H.Mann of Worcester. Linesmen: Messrs G.W.Stevenson and C.Curtis.
Kelly; Walton, Doyle;
Booth, Goddard, Fallon; Mitchell, Knight, Dailey, Murphy, McClelland.
Boswell, Niblett, Forrester; Hall, Sowden, King, Lambert, Long.
Bideford 2. Exeter City Reserves 1.
Team:- Singleton; Anderson, Marsh; Harvey, Wood, Armes; Digby, Bolt, Rose, Black, Howells.
Scorer Exeter City Rose.