Match 33
14th February 1953
Bristol Rovers (h)

Southern League.
Merthyr Tydfil (a)

ECFC 0-0 Bristol Rovers
Attendance: 13116
League 3rd Division South.

Saturday, February 14th 1953.
St James's Park, Exeter.
Attendance 13,116.

Teams :
Walton, Doyle;
Booth, Goddard, Davey; Mitchell, Dailey, Rose, Black, Howells.
Bamford, Fox;
Pitt, Warren, Sampson;
McIlvenny, Bush, Lambden, Bradford, Petherbridge.
Referee:- Mr G.F.Sawyer of Weston-super-Mare.

Second Point; Sound Deputies


By an unfortunate coincidence both Exeter City and Bristol Rovers were without their first-choice goal keeper for the keenly-awaited West-country "derby" at St. James's Park to-day. The promotion-hunting Rovers had Radford as the replacement for Bert Hoyle. Into the City's team, as a last minute deputy for Hugh Kelly, stepped Barney Singleton, to play in his second Southern Section match this season, Kelly developed rheumatism in his right forearm yesterday afternoon and injections this morning failed to supply the required relief. Heavy overnight snow was followed by a partial thaw, but the playing pitch remained carpetted. The touch-lines were cleared. Blue dye marked the centre circle, the nalf-way line and penalty area.

Telegram From Hoyle
Thousands of Rovers' supporters made the journey and half an hour before the kick-off there were long queues at the approaches to the ground. Shortly before the teams came out. Post Office messenger hastened to St. James's Park. He brought with him a telegram to Norman Radford, the 22-year-old Rovers' goalkeeper. who was playing in his first League match of the season, and the sender was Bert Hoyle, now lying injured with fractured skuil in Bristol Royal Intirmary. That this match would be a survival of the fittest in which strength would be decisive, was evident from the start. 

Hard To Stand
Players had extreme difficulty in maintaining a foothold yet there were early thrills in cut and thrust exchanges. Black's speed, and close footwork was of no avail. Through no fault of his own, the player lost possession because the ball stuck in the slush. Then came the Rovers to force a corner on the left, but the ball went behind for a goal kick which preceded an great Exeter attack. The ball was passed and repassed and the Rovers' defence was in a hopeless tangle, when Dalley darted to drive low, and a fraction wide of the near post. Radford scrambled across his charge, but I doubt if he would have saved if Dailey's effort had been on the mark. Back came the Rovers and, with Singleton a shade late in coming out. Bradford was left with a golden chance of opening the scoring.
Bradford Miss
He got to the ball first, but kicked straight at Singleton, and all the Rovers got was another unproductive corner. The long ball was the only means of making progress on such an afternoon. Strength of kick was the first essential as Howells showed when he drove in a terrific cross shot from outside the angle of the penalty area, As Radford looked on helplessly the ball sped inches outside the far post. The next phase was the Rovers, and Doyle did sterling work while the visiting pressure wae at its height. Singleton also distinguished himself, saving a header from Lambden and a low cross-shot from Bradford. Exeter's one dangerous response for a long spell came when Walton drove a free kick a foot over the crossbar. Stronger in attack and more cohesive, the Rovers were shaping as the likelier side until the City broke. away to gain their first corner, conceded needlessly by Sampson.

Cruder Now
The crowd booed Pitt for an offence against Rose, which Referee Sawyer did not see. Then the onlookers. cheered Goddard's deft footwork, which had Lambden trailing helplessly. Rough-and-tumble exchanges were the order as the interval approached and the struggle continued to be dominated by the rival defences. Davey was a hard-tackling City half-back, and no Exeter forward was working with greater energy than Dailey. Rovers had a sensational escape when Mitchell veered out to the left and shot from an oblique angle. Radford, partly unsighted, looked to be beaten, but Fox rescued his side by kicking from the goal-line. The last thrill before half-time was a long-range pile-driver from Rose,
to which Radford dived and saved by the base of an upright.

Twice in as many minutes Mitchell drove likely balls into the penalty area, but no one was in position. Quick retaliation by the Rovers brought Singleton into action. He gathered a centre from Petherbridge and next showed perfect anticipation when Bradford moved forward to meet Petherbridge's diagonal lob. Bradford headed strongly, but Singleton was there to make a great save. Dailly led a lively City raid, and his centre flashed across the goal.

Singleton Safe
Good goalkeeping by Singleton, handling the ball with complete con fidence kept Bristol at bay. Booth and Goddard were other stalwarts in the City team. Exeter's danger man in attack was Dailey. Again he cut through and brought Radford full length to smother a cross-shot. In the fierce melee which followed, the City were penalised for an in fringement on Radford Goddard and McIlvenny were con cerned in an incident near the touch line. It culminated in a free-kick to Exeter, and a rebuke on the City's skipper for retaliation. Singleton punched McIlvenny's flag-kick behind. Goddard headed. out the second corner taken by Petherbridge, and more Rovers' pres sure ended when Lambden shot low and wide behind. Again the corner kiek was of no avail. Exeter's attack had not been seen for nearly ten minutes, but the home defence was hanging on grimly.
Dailey Hurt
Dailey ran through as Radford came out, and in the collision the City forward came off second-beat. Limping. Dalley resumed after attention, and when the game re started the City were awarded a free kick because Radford had handled outside the penalty area. Rovers defence packed their goal and cleared. City hit back gallantly, and forced another vain corner. Rose dashed down the centre at top speed. He was floored within shooting range, but play continued. When the Rovers returned to the attack Goddard attempted a first time clearance, and almost sliced the ball into the City's End to end play was the order in the closing stage.

There were handshakes all round at the end of a hard game, the result of which was fittingly a draw. While the Rovers were the better balanced side in attack, Exeter's de fence never let up, and Singleton proved an adequate replacement for the injured Kelly. He saved a num ber of shots; his handling was always certain. Doyle was the better of the full backs, while at half-back Goddard was always prominent. Rose was a spirited leader of an attack which had few chances, but the best forward in the City ranks was Dailey, who, until he was in jured, late on, was a strong forager and a glutton for work. Attendance 13,116.

Southern League.

Merthyr Tydfil 7 City Reserves 0

at Merthyr.

Merthyr Shock City with Four Goal Rush 

ALTHOUGH all markings had been well cleared, the two-inch deep carpet of snow made conditions severely test ing when Exeter City Reserves visited Southern League cham pions Merthyr Tydfil this afternoon. There was no advantage to be gained when visiting skipper Sandy Anderson was successful with the coin, and within two minutes Exeter were in arrears. A corner kick flashed across the goalmouth, and when ex-Plymouth Argyle Frank Squires returned the ball winger STAN DAVIES rammed it home well out of City goal-keeper reach. The Welshmen were in early command, and the City keeper had the crowd forgetting the chill conditions when he made three thrilling saves in as many minutes.
Weathering this early storm, Exeter replied in striking fashion, and flipped through by Murphy, outside left Angus Mackay found the net, only to be flagged out of the point for offside. Undismayed, the City maintained this pressure, and Murphy had the home 'keeper Sellick diving desperately to the foot of the far post to Next, Fallon's free-kick was cleared from the Merthyr dangerzone only after successive corners were gained by Exeter. Footholds were most difficult in the conditions, as Murphy discovered when put through splendidly by centre-forward Armes he missed his finishing shot completely. When champions Merthyr rolled up their sleeves in an attempt to regain their early command, they were foiled by McClelland, who was playing the game of his life, Exeter were soon back in the attacking role. Skipper Anderson was marshalling this smart Exeter into an efficient force, and near half-time he made a 40 yard dash up-field which almost resulted in the equaliser. This would have been no more than the visitors deserved at this stage, and indeed two headers from centre forward Ivan Armes almost succeeded
A disastrous start to the second half saw City trailing after 5-0 after fifteen  minutes. This transformation had even the Welsh crowd in amazement. A hat-trick from centre-forwart TREVOR REYNOLDS within ten minutes was added to when winger POWELL crashed in the ball from close range. On football ability Exeter were not five goals the inferior team. Two further goals, from POWELL and JARMAN, resulted in Exeters seven-goals' defeat.



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