Classic Match | Aldershot 1977

1977 was the year that ECFC delivered a successful promotion campaign for the second time in their history, finishing runners-up in the Fourth Division with a (then) record points total, losing just one of their last 14 matches.

Having secured promotion away to Doncaster the week before with a 3-0 win, City hosted Aldershot at home on the final day of the season, and 10,751 fans turned up to a sun-drenched St James Park to celebrate with their heroes.

The visitors formed a guard of honour for the Exeter players as they emerged from the tunnel, and as they made their way to the centre circle the Devon and Cornwall Police Band, who had entertained the crowd in the build up, added to the cheers around the ground with a rousing rendition of the tune ‘celebration’.

The action on the pitch was almost second to the excitable behaviour in the stand, but after a few half-chances Bobby Hodge turned all eyes to the pitch when he picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box and unleashed a fierce left foot shot on the half-volley to make it 1-0.

Despite the ‘Hodge Special’ the City players were not playing to the same level of football that had earned them their promotion, and after half-time emerged from the dressing rooms with clear instructions from player-manager, Bobby Saxton, to liven up their game!

Whatever Saxton had said, it clearly had an effect, and a string of chances (including a disallowed goal) followed from John Templeman, Tony Kellow, and Nicky Jennings.

In the 78th minute the second goal arrived from the boot of Alan Beer. Following a foul on Jennings on the edge of the box, Lammie Robertson back-heeled the free-kick into the path of Beer, who unleashed a swerving drive with the outside of his boot that saw the ball in the net, as well as dozens of fans spilling out of the Cowshed and onto the pitch in celebration.

With the fans back on the primrose bank, Jennings made it 3-0 as he latched onto Beer’s through-ball, dummied the defender to go clean through, and then slotted the ball past Trevor Rockett in the Aldershot goal.

Again a section of fans piled onto the pitch in jubilation, and when the referee blew the faintest of whistles at the end of the game, hundreds of Grecians swarmed onto the pitch chanting, “We Want Saxton, We Want Saxton”.

As the players re-emerged from the directors box to thank the fans for their support, up went the cries, the scarfs, the banners, and just about everything else, including a sign with “Alan Beer reaches parts other Beers cannot”, and another that simply stated “Grecian Magic”.


Final Score: ECFC 3 Aldershot 0

Exeter City: Baugh, Templeman, Hore, Weeks, Saxton, Hatch, Hodge, Kellow, Robertson, Beer, Jennings. Sub: Green.

Adershot: Rockett, Howitt, Wooler, Crosby, Youlden, Jopling, Hilton, McGregor. Sub: Walton.

Referee: A. R. Lees (Bridgewater)

Attendance: 10,751

Man of the Match: Alan Beer


Written by: Will Barrett

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