Classic Match | Plymouth Argyle (Boxing Day) 1925

Back in the days before motorways and reasonably priced Flybe travel, Christmas fixtures were usually organised to be a convenient local affair, and so in December 1925 Exeter City prepared for a two day double header against our fierce rivals Plymouth Argyle.

The home fixture was held on Christmas Day at St James Park, and provided the perfect example of the formbook flying out of the window on derby-day.

City had lost all of their previous seven matches in the run up to the festive period, and found themselves 19th out of 22 teams in the old Third Division South. Despite results and this poor league position, fans ahead of the game claimed that it was not a fair representation of the Grecians, and that, like Ebeneezer Scrooge, all would be right come Christmas Day.

How right they were! Except for rare flashes of quality from Sam Black and Jack Leslie in the Argyle frontline, the visitors attack were rarely involved in the game, as the Grecians dominated the fixture from the first whistle.

Just three minutes into the match Alf Matthews slipped the ball into Billy McDevitt, who in turn played it into the path of the oncoming Harold Blackmore, who could not fail to receive the gift and duly dispatched the ball with his ever accurate left-foot to make it one-nil.

It was not until the second half that City added to their goal tally, and while the encounter in the interim was fiercely contested, the City backs made sure that Bailey was no more a spectator than the fans, as he kept watch in the City goal.

Sensing that Argyle were for the taking, City upped their game in the second half, and the lead was doubled in the 54th minute when Mathhews middled the ball to Blackmore, who trapped the ball and then laid it into the path of Lievesley to smash home the second.

With the floodgates well and truly open, City continued to attack and the third came through a fierce drive from Matthews that deflected off a stranded Plymouth defender into the roof of the net.

Then, with just a few minutes left on the clock, Billy Compton put the bow on the perfect present of smashing our rivals, by rounding off another brilliant attacking move to make it 4-0.
The following day the Grecians made their way down to Home Park, and while Argyle vowed to level the scores, it was City that did just that by earning a well-fought 2-2 draw to make it a very happy Christmas in this part Devon.

Final Score: ECFC 4 PAFC 0

Exeter City: Bailey, Pollard, Charlton, Pullan, Potter, Shelton, Matthews, McDevitt, Blackmore, Lievesley, Compton.

Plymouth Argyle: Craig, Price, Russell, Logan, Pullen, Smith, Corcoran, Forbes, Cook, Leslie, Black.

Man of the match: Harold Blackmore

Attendance: 12,000

Written by: Will Barrett


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