Match 35
20th February 1954
Southampton (a)

Southern League
Llanelly (h)

Saints finished better, won 2-0

DEREK DIGBY, the former City winger, gained an unexpected chance to play against his old club at the Dell to-day. He was a late replacement for the injured Flood, and one of two changes made by Manager George Roughton in the Southampton attack. The other was at centre forward, where Whittle, who recently joined the Saints from the Hearts, was dropped in favour of Eric Day. City relied on the side which drew with Queen's Park Rangers last Saturday. A trainload of City supporters travelled by special excursion and many more made the journey by road. Hugh Kelly, loudly cheered by his old Southampton admirers. was made Exeter's captain for the day and he made a good start by winning the toss.

Line up
Southampton: Christie: Gregory. Traynor; Elliott, Clements, Wilkins; Digby, Walker, Day. Horton, Hoskins.

Referee: E. S. Vickery, Bristol.

Exeter City: Kelly; Walton, Douglass: McLean, Davey, Goddard: Priestley, Knight, Donaldson, Mackay. McClelland.

In Spring-like weather the first threat came when McClelland cut inside Gregory and left the full back trailing. but Clements came across to intercept the winger's pass. Maintaining pressure, the City were dangerous when the ball was lobbed into the goal area, and Clements was lucky when a pushing offence happened on the blind side of the referee. Later, in attempting to pass back to Christie, the Southampton pivot conceded a corner which was quickly cleared. 

Saints' pressure

These opening Exeter bursts checked. Southampton got on top and Hoskins had the beating of Walton almost at will in three quickly following menacing attacks. Twice the City defence got out of trouble by effective covering, but on the third occasion Kelly reached for ward to a centre from Hoskins and dropped the ball, but he fell and smothered it to ward off another danger. A low shot from Walker was gathered by the goalkeeper. and an indirect free kick inside the penalty area brought the now aggressive Saints no reward. Breaking the stranglehold, the City advanced to the other end. thanks to good work Priestley, but the attack was effectively countered. An injury to McLean held up play and the half-back had to receive attention before he could resume. Passes were going astray on the greasy surface and neither side was impressing a lot at this stage. Davey's lusty clearances foiled Southampton's attempts to advance down the middle. Exeter reprisal promised well, and Southampton had a fright when McClelland initiated one sparkling movement. The ball travelled all along the line and finally to Priestley, whose centre worried Christie. Challenged by Donaldson, the goalkeeper was knocked off his balance and he only half-fisted the ball away. But it ran where no for ward was standing. The tempo now livened. First Southampton forced a corner, which produced a lively goalmouth tussle, Next, the home attack had the crowd roaring as full-back Traynor tested Kelly with a 30-yards pile-driver. which was safely held by the goalkeeper.

Neater, then

Clever work by Donaldson had the home defence moving the wrong way, and a hard left-footed drive over the angle of the goal. Exeter's approach work was much neater now and Christie was kept busy dealing with centres from both Priestley and McClelland.

In swift and exciting exchanges Southampton were slightly the stronger side. A cross-shot from Digby was turned over the bar by Kelly and from the resulting flag kick Walton kicked the ball from off the goal-line. Ten minutes from the interval the City were a goal down. Walton fell awkwardly as he moved forward in an attempt to check Hoskins, and whilst the full-back lay injured Southampton's Qutside-left continued his goalward advance. Hoskins beat another defender and shot hard from an acute angle, and Kelly could do no more than divert the ball with one hand. In rushed DAY to shoot into the back of the net from close range and before the City defence could recover.
A brilliant dribble by McClelland was followed by a flashing centre which went out of play beyond the far post. with Priestley chasing up in vain. Horton, ten yards out, missed a great chance. He delayed his shot and eventually drove straight at a defender. Half-time:

Southampton were worth their interval lead. The home attack had that extra bite near goal and Kelly was more often in action than Christie. Exeter's inside-forwards were seldom in the picture in the first half and the best attacking efforts were individual endeavours by Donaidson and McClelland. The City's defence was stubborn with Douglass, Davey, and Kelly bearing the brunt of the struggle. Walton, however, was less confident than usual against Hoskins, a fast and strong winger. Hoskins was Southampton's out standing winger, and Traynor the best full-back on view. McClelland flicked the ball past Gregory and beat the full-back in his stride when the game was resumed. Gregory doubled back and conceded a free kick which brought the City no profit.

Great save
Two corners were formed by Southampton and as the home side piled on pressure. Day body-swerved his way past two opponents. From the edge of the penalty area he brought Kelly into the picture with a leaping one-handed save by the far post. The City had a possible chance when Knight slipped a low pass through to Priestley. The winger. however, delayed his effort and his shot was charged down. A shrewd centre by Donaldson was deflected as Knight was closing in another narrow escape for the Saints. Within a minute the City launched another strong attack and Christie beat down and cleared a powerful 15 yards drive from Mackay. Exeter were still in the game with a chance and a low cross pass by Donaldson almost split the Saints' defence. But the quick-thinking Traynor beat Knight by the merest fraction in a race for the ball. Southampton almost scored again. and well might have done but for a magnificent one-handed interception by Kelly, who pulled down a flashing cross-shot from Hoskins. Twenty minutes from time Southampton virtually made the game safe. Walker and Digby interpassed skilfully and the latter middled the ball low and quickly to DAY, who scored with a first-time shot. It was Day's goal, but Digby's intelligent work created the opportunity. City's goal was under constant fire, but from a late raid led by Priestley the margin was almost lessened. The winger raced through at top speed and finished with an accurate centre. Christie met the ball, was charged down by Donaldson and fell, Exeter claimed that the ball was over the line, but the referee said "No." It must have been a near thing!

Hugh Kelly was on the losing side but he was one of the outstanding personalities in this hard-fought game in which the stronger finishing power of Southampton was the deciding factor. City lacked the thrust of their opponents and there was a weakness at inside-forward. The defence toiled hard.
Attendance: 16,327.

Southern League

THE Exeter defence was under pressure early against Llanelly at St. James's Park this afternoon, but they soon got back into the Llanelly area. Cook was close in when he was dispossessed by Maxwell. A corner followed the incident, but Samueis's shot was too far out. Two more Llanelly sorties made things look dangerous for Exeter. Both were brought about by left-wing Williams. Once he rushed in, but kicked high, and minutes later he headed into Singleton's hands. Setters made a brilliant getaway for Exeter and worked right through to the goal area. His shot brought Toft out to dive. As the 'keeper went down he fumbled the ball and was only just able to push it away as Cook went in. Ellaway passed out to the wing and Samuels's shot hit the crossbar with Toft beaten. The same player was well placed but held on too long and kicked high over the bar. Exeter went ahead in 38 minutes with a penalty. Low handied right by the spot, and MURPHY piaced the kick high in the right hand cor ner of the net. Llanelly missed a chance when a centre ran right across mouth of the Exeter goal. Within the open minute Exeter were two up. SAMUELS broke away on the right and found the corner of the net from 25 yards-a copy-book goal. Toft tried to get to it but was completely beaten. Exeter had a hairsbreadth escape when Williams missed after Storey and Singleton collided.

After a quiet opening to the second half a spell of six minutes saw four goals scored. COOK found himself right in front of goal with the ball and he shot low to score Exeter's third. Four minutes later MURPHY found himself in a similar position and he scored Exeter's fourth. In the next two minutes COOK again scored for Exeter from close in, and WILLIAMS narrowed Exeter's lead when he headed a goal at the other end.



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