Classic Match | Coventry City 1926

Back in the days before First World War, City created a sensation with an 8-1 win over a New Brompton team that later became Gillingham. In the years that followed, particularly since joining the Football League in 1920, fans had not experienced an afternoon quite like that one at the park – that was until Coventry City rocked up in December 1926.

In the build up to the match City were very much the favourites, largely thanks to the potential of the forwards, and also because Coventry had struggled to adjust since being moved into the southern section of the third division.

At the time Coventry were commonly known as the peepers, but on this particular afternoon they would not be able to believe their eyes as the Grecians forward line fulfilled their promise by running riot on the visitors beleaguered defence.

The opening goal came in the fourth minute, when Dent opened his account for the Grecians by heading the ball past Randle and running round him to strike home from close range. A second came soon after when McDevitt played a perfect through ball into the feet of Blackmore, who hit a fast rising shot into the roof of the net.

As the game approached the 20 minute mark, City were awarded a penalty, but this was spectacularly saved by Newton, who dived full stretch to palm out Charlton’s powerful effort.

Despite this save, and his subsequent heroics throughout the match, things did not get any better for the visitors, and in the 29th minute Compton made it 3-0 by hammering in the ball of of the far post.

Coming out in the second half, City could have taken it easy, but they continued to put on a performance that was described in the papers as ‘pure unadulterated football’. Showing greater pace and intelligence to a man, and peppering the peepers goal, the score was soon 5-0 as Dent and then Blackmore added to their tallies with precision finishing.

Numbers Six and Seven came through tidy combinations between the forward lines, and while McDevitt could not get on the score-sheet himself, it was his genius that led to Compton and Purcell bagging easy goals from close range.

With just five minutes left to survive their ordeal, Coventry grabbed a goal of their own as Heathcote headed home from a corner, but their misery was not completed until the very last minute when Purcell snuck in to make it 8 (eight).

The home crowd was ecstatic, shouting “one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight”, reflecting the goals that matched the club’s highest ever league win, and the setting of a club record victory in the Football League that remains to this day.


Final Score: ECFC 8 Coventry 1

Exeter City: Bailey; Pollard, Charlton; Pullan, Pool, Garratt; Purcell, McDevitt, Blackmore, Dent, Compton.

Coventry City: Newton; Randle, Gay; Brown, Ramage, Gardiner; Daily, Dunn, Heathcotte, Herbert, Ferguson

Man of the match: William McDevitt

Attendance: 6,000


Written by: Will Barrett

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