Match 43
10th April 1954
Gillingham (a)

Southern League
Hereford (h)



Gillingham 0, Exeter City 1 

EXETER'S win at Gillingham was also a triumph over difficulties, because four of the City's players had to receive treatment from trainer Harry Hanford. John Owens, Bill Ellaway, and Norman Douglass were victims of damaged ankles. The worst casualty, Angus Mackay, overstretched and strained a groin early in the game and was afterwards a limping passenger who carried on gamely at outside-left.
Until these misfortunes the City were immeasurably the superior side and, but for enforced team switches, the narrow victory would have become a runaway affair against the poorest opposition Exeter have encountered on their travels this season.
Fittingly the two best forwards on view played a leading part in the winning goal a minute from half time. Gerald Priestley, a fast out side-right who frequently outpaced and baffled the rival defence, cut in to the centre and passed low across the goal area. The gallant Mackay returned the ball to Donaldson, who turned and shot low into the corner of the net from close range. 
Donaldson earned his success. He was a stylish leader of an attack which began brightly and toiled bravely when disorganised. So solid was the City defence, in which full-backs Dick Walton and Norman Douglass distinguished them selves by lusty tackling, that goal keeper Hugh Kelly had an easy afternoon; apart from a spell near the end when the home forwards forced a succession of corner kicks.
Fred Davey was masterful as Exeter's pivot and young Owens looked an effective left-half until injury slowed him down and caused him to be converted into a stop-gap inside-left.
Thereafter Bill Parker did grand work in the middle line. His strong. ground-gaining clearances were correct tactics while the disorganised City were waging a back-to-the-wall fight to maintain their slender lead. Gillingham never rose above the level of a kick-and-rush team. Inside-right Pat Sowden was their one forward with constructive ideas.
Even he was guilty of a quota of ill directed passes.
The attendance was 9,500.
Southern League 
With Doyle instead of Rowe at left-back, Exeter City Res. went early into the attack against Here ford United, and Cook's shot was just cleared off the line by right back Leyton. Exeter had a chance again and Harvey centred too hard. McClelland pushed it back and Knight kicked high. Hereford's defence again weakened, but Exeter could not put the finishing touches.Play was held up for some minutes while Storey received attention after being hit on the face. Exeter, with the bright sun at their backs, were the more dangerous while the home defence was making light work of Hereford's infrequent raids. Hereford were given a free-kick for a foul against Mountford but the shot went feet above the bar. Exeter were putting the ball forward but the finishing near goal lacked polish. King was feeding the forwards with useful passes, and eventually he gave Cook a chance. The centre forward passed to McClelland, whose left-footed shot from well out curved
inches outside an upright. McClelland gained possession in the centre and passed straight up the middle. Cook took it on the run and put it right into John Lewis's hands. Harvey headed in a good attempt which Lewis cleared with a one fisted punch. Exeter were the better team both in defence and attack. Ray Goddard, at centre-half, was master of every situation, and even Hereford's veteran Mountford got "no change" from the home defence. Hereford's defence, on the other hand, suffered considerable worry. The visitors did not look a combined side and moved rather aimlessly.
Half-time: 0-0 
Exeter rightly went ahead seven minutes after the restart. Storey took a free kick for a foul against Corbett and sent the ball to McClelland, who was standing near the edge of the goal area. John Lewis came out and McClelland  jumped to head the ball over the 'keeper and into the back of the net. Hereford almost equalised when Doyle had to head off the line from O'Hara.


Topsham St Margaret's beat City "A" by 2 goals to 1. 



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