Saturday 6th September
Southampton v Exeter City (SL)
Exeter Reserves v Plymouth Reserves (P & D L)
Thursday 11th September
Budleigh Salterton v Exeter City (Exhibition Game)
Southampton v Exeter City
THE GRECIANS LOSE THEIR FIRST MATCH:
A Hard Game:
Exeter City opened their Southern League programme today, at The Dell, Southampton, the ground of many famous Cup and League struggles of the past, in some of which the Grecians' present manager figured prominently. The Dell has been a pitch that has generally suited Exeter, despite its rather unusual features, and in fact, the City have never played bad football there. The four games of which they have won one and drawn one have provided, in each case, good, fair, and interesting play. On the occasion of the first visit, in 1908-09, Exeter went under by 2-nil, but the match was closer than the score indicated. The next time they were beaten 3-2 after an exciting encounter, and three years ago they registered a brilliant victory, thanks very largely to the work of "Tiger" Smith, who, that afternoon put up his best game for the Grecians.
The next visit was paid on April 27th 1912, when Southampton wanted the points to escape relegation while the City, on the other hand, were well in the safety zone. The Saints won by three clear goals, and sent their supporters home with long pent-up anxiety allayed. Last year the result was a drew of 2-2, and it is a fact worth noting that both of Exeter's goals were scored by men who are no longer in the Grecians' camp. Rutter, two minutes after the start, opened the City's account, but subsequently Southampton took the lead, and it was in the second half that Ives brilliantly equalised.
As far as this season is concerned, Southampton had already played a match before today, having lost at Brighton by the only goal scored. They had put up a far better show than had generally been expected, but the game was not a brilliant one, and as well as losing, the Saints had their left-half, McAlpine, injured due to an accidental kick.
For today's match Southampton chose three of their new players, Small, right-half from Sunderland, Binder, outside-right from Kettering, and Smith, centre-forward from Brentford. McAlpine, recovered from injury, was in his usual position at left-half.
Exeter's team as chosen for today had given local satisfaction, although it was conceded that the preference at centre-forward of Lovett to Brooksbank was purely in the nature of an experiment.
SAINTS: Kitchen,Lee Ireland, Small Denby McAlpine, Binder Dominy Smith Prince Andrews
Referee: Mr R. R. Crump, of London.
CITY: Pym, Fort, Strettle, Rigby, Pratt, Evans,Whittaker, Kirkby,Lovett, McCann, Lee
The City team arrived at Southampton just an hour and a half before the start, and were met on the ground by Mr Chadwick. The weather was dull, and the playing pitch bumpy, although covered with a beautiful surface of new grass. A great many of the City's supporters were on the ground. Southampton played in white, thus allowing Exeter to wear their red and white stripes, and Albert Lee beat Kirby with the toss. There was little advantage to be gained, however.
Lovett kicked-off before seven thousand spectators, and Exeter immediately got a free kick. Kirby was robbed, however, and the Saints went off at full speed. The moment which followed was an anxious one, but Strettle headed clear to Rigby, who sent the ball well downfield. Southampton came again in menacing fashion, and a second time Strettle forced them back. A third time he broke in to intercept a pass, and transfer the leather to Evans. The latter passed to Lee, but Exeter's left-winger was too high with his centre, and Albert Lee headed clear.
Escapes at Both Ends.
Denby frustrated Exeter's first likely attack, and then a pass from Kirby to Whittaker fell short. The result was that Southampton got into action again, and this time they were repelled by Fort. A cross-drive by Exeter's Lee was intercepted by Denby when it looked as though Whittaker might profit by it, and at the other end Smith was offside as Pym ran out to save. There was very little in it so far, both teams being desperately anxious, and the outstanding player on the field was Pratt, in the thick of things all the time and working like a "Trojan". Passes on both sides were going astray, and after 15 minutes a drizzling rain began to fall. Kitchen saved a great shot by McCann. There were escapes at both ends, and once Andrews flared the leather high over the bar when he had a good chance. A good pass from Evans to Lee saw the winger give Kirby an opportunity, but Exeter's new captain was in too great a hurry, and his shot missed the target by three or four yards. Exeter came again, and the work of their new forward line was often very encouraging. The Saints' half-backs, however, were in great form, especially McAlpine.
Pym was given a sharp header from Andrews to deal with, and he conceded the first corner of the game. The next minute he saved at the expense of a second flag-kick, and things looked desperate for the City. Small kicked behind from a free-kick given for hands against Strettle. The Grecians then had another look-in, and a first-time volley by Lovett went over the bar. Pratt was winded in attempting to intercept a pass, but quickly resumed, and McCann was given offside from a pass by Lee. The Southampton Lee pulled his namesake up with what looked very like a foul, and twice in quick succession the Saints ran the ball over their own line. So far there was not a pin to choose between the sides, and it was a hard game without being especially brilliant. A foul was given against the Grecians just outside the penalty line, but Small put the leather over the bar. Lovett showed great cleverness, but once, after beating two men, made the mistake of middling the ball with none of his colleagues in position, instead of wing it out to Whittaker, who had a clear field. Exeter were dangerous following a foul on Lee just outside the penalty area, and Whittaker slid across a fine ground centre which Denby kicked clear. Pym had a difficult time to stop a backwards header from Fort going into the net, but he got the ball clear, and on the stroke of half-time Dominy broke through in the centre but put the ball over the bar.
Half-time: Saints 0-0 City
The second half was started before ten thousand spectators. In the first Southampton attack Andrews struck the side of the net after Fort had been "sandwiched" heavily. Another shot by Smith was off the mark, and Exeter were lucky when a free kick against Strettle was put behind. Kirby engineered an opening and tried to send Lovett through, but the ball was too fast for him, and Kitchen ran out and kicked away. The first blood was drawn by Small, for Southampton, five minutes from the restart. There was a throw-in from which Dominy passed back to Small. The half-back took a left foot drive for the goalmouth, and though Pym jumped he misjudged the flight of the leather as it sailed in almost from the touch-line, and it passed over his hands to the back of the net. The shot, which more than likely was intended to be a centre, was quite a chance one, and Pym looked to have it sighted all the way. Play became faster after this goal, for Exeter tried desperately to get on terms, but the Southampton half-backs were their masters, and the home side were soon attacking once more. Fort drove them back, and Kirby tried a ground shot, which was wide.
Southampton's Stone Wall Defence.
Whittaker forced a corner off McAlpine, and McCann, with a splendid effort, headed just over. Exeter's Lee went through with a fine burst of speed, only to be pulled up by Ireland, who, with Albert Lee, was presenting a "stone-wall" defence. Andrews missed a possible opening, and play was generally fast without being too clever. Kirby tried in vain to make openings for Lovett, and Whittaker, who was Exeter's best forward, forced another corner off Ireland this time, but the Saints easily cleared his flag‑kick. Strettle was good at putting the home forwards offside, much to the displeasure of the crowd. Following a miskick by Kirby, Smith put Andrews away, and the ball rebounded off Fort for a corner, which was abortive.
The Second Goal.
Southampton scored their second goal in almost as simple a fashion as their first. Whittaker had failed to reach a pass from Kirby, and Ireland slammed the ball forward. Strettle had Dominy and Smith to deal with, and the latter, receiving the ball right at his feet from Dominy, scored with a point-blank shot along the ground which entered the net just inside the upright. It was a well-worked goal, but simple in its execution, and Pym was given no chance at all to save the final shot. Rigby had a foul given against him just outside the penalty area, and an anxious moment followed, but Prince shot too high. Fort's thigh was troubling him in the closing stages, and Southampton nearly scored again, Pym having to clear with three or four men round him. Kirby was accidentally kicked in the mouth, and walked off, bleeding badly, and Exeter had to continue with nine fit men and the crippled Fort. Kirby returned just before the finish, and play favoured Exeter until the call of time, with the score:
Southampton 2-0 City
Last season: Southampton 2 City 2.
In 1911-12: Southampton 3 City 0.
Notes on the Game.
When two teams are so evenly matched as the Grecians and the Saints were at The Dell, and one team eventually wins by a fairly comfortable margin, as the Saints did in this game, it will mostly be found that quite a chance occurrence or a slice of luck led up to the goal which paved the way for the winning club's victory. It was so today in Exeter's first match of the season. There have been few more even games than this one, and there was hardly anything to choose between the sides. For the slight advantage which Exeter had enjoyed in the first half was counter balanced by a similar slight advantage which Southampton enjoyed after the interval. The attack on neither side was good enough to do anything out of the way against the defence opposed to it. The blank score-sheet at half-time justly represented play, in which defence had prevailed. Five minutes after the restart came the chance occurrence referred to. There was a throw-in in Exeter's quarters, about 25 yards from the goal-line. Small, a stocky young half-back from Sunderland with a dour look and a dour methodical style, took the ball, and put it in play. It went to Dominy, and Dominy tapped it back to Small. Now at that moment Small had no more idea of being able to score a goal from the position he was in than Exeter City have of winning the Association Cup. He looked across at the goal-mouth upon which his own forwards were converging, and lofted the ball towards that part of the field with his left foot. His idea was, no doubt, to put it twelve yards in front of Pym to give his own forwards a chance. The ball rose high, however, and went not towards the penalty line but directly towards goal. Pym shaped, stepped a pace back towards his net, and prepared to spring. At the correct moment he sprang, but to his and his team's dismay the ball passed over his head and fell to the back of the rigging. It was this goal that turned the game in Southampton's favour.
Much Depending on Kirby.
Southampton's second goal came as the result of an opportunist move between Dominy and Smith, and left the centre-forward with a clear opening which he could hardly miss. He promptly planted the ball in the net with a fast shot along the ground, well out of Pym's reach. As regards the City this season, a lot depends upon Kirby as to how the front line will ultimately shape. He tried by using his initiative as a player, and his experience as a captain, to get it going at the Dell, and to infuse into it the life and dash which come of the long passing game. A lot he tried did not come off, however, and all the reward he got was ten minutes from the finish, when an opponent's elbow hit him in the mouth, knocking out one tooth and loosening four or five others besides cutting his lips. If Kirby cannot make this line a success nobody would be able to do so, and he will if only the other men learn how to play up to his scheming. Lovett played a very hard game and did not give up trying because things were not running smoothly for him, nor was he discouraged because he did not always grasp the intentions of Kirby, when the old hand would have sent him through on his own. It may be that in time Lovett will make a fine centre, but at present he is new to the position. McCann lies back a little, and in some moves is remindful of Watson. He got in the only real shot of the whole game, and the Saints' goalkeeper had to be smart to get to it. His passes were very good, and generally timed to the fraction. Lee did much that was promising, and his chief merit lies in the fact that he does not waste time with the ball. At the Dell he was inclined to be overawed by his namesake, Bert Lee, whereas if he had given his speed a fair chance that alone would have beaten the backs. For a really fast forward need never fear the Southampton skipper, and Exeter's new winger will find his game improving immensely if he goes all out for the ball, using his speed to the last yard. For the half-backs, backs, and goalkeeper, there can be nothing but praise.
CITY RESERVES v ARGYLE RESERVES.
Plymouth League, at St. James's Park.
CITY WIN 2-0 : A SPLENDID START:
The City Reserves opened their Plymouth and District League programme at St. James's Park this afternoon, the visitors being Plymouth Argyle Reserves. Both teams were strongly represented, with the majority of the players being professionals. The Argyle included Rutter, the former City first-team centre-forward. In the City team, Holt had not sufficiently recovered from his injury to take his place, and Baker was at outside-right. Black armlets were worn by the Plymouth players, on account of the recent death of Mr Stanley Spooner, one of the great family of Argyle benefactors, and an important director of the club for a number of years. The teams were:‑
City Reserves: Loram; Harding, Goddard; Smith, Lagan, Marshall; Baker, Lewis, Brooksbank, Gerrish, and Orr.
Argyle Reserves: Craig; W.Butler, J.Wright; Paltridge, Tainsh, Reed; A.Dixon, Gallogley, Rutter, Kellock, and W.A.Dixon.
The City kicked off, but the Argyle quickly attacked, and Loram did well to punch out a centre from A.Dixon for a corner, which was cleared. At the other end Butler had to kick back to Craig when hard pressed. Then Orr centred to Lewis, who lost an opportunity of registering an early score by delaying his shot. Craig saved from Brooksbank, and another fast drive by the Exeter centre forward was too high, the ball clearing the bar by several feet. Exeter continued to have the best of matters, and Brooksbank forced a corner off Paltridge from which Smith hit the post, the ball rebounding into play and being cleared. Two shots by W.Dixon and one from Rutter were saved by Loram, and Goddard was prominent in the Exeter defence when the Argyle took a turn. Lagan was wide of the mark with a long shot, and following a free kick for a foul by Rutter, Lagan scored but was given offside. Marshall and Orr worked well together, and from the winger's centre Lewis shot, but Craig was not to be beaten, although he dropped the ball. The Plymouth goalkeeper was getting plenty of work to do, and brought off several smart clearances. Brooksbank, who had been injured early in the game, left the field about ten minutes before half-time.
At the interval the score was: 0-0
The City, with Brooksbank coming out again, restarted, and in the first minute Marshall sent in an excellent shot, which Craig saved. Exeter continued to enjoy a pronounced territorial advantage, but Marshall came to the rescue in a rare Plymouth attack. The City returned to the attack, led by Brooksbank and Lewis, and with Craig coming out of his goal Lewis placed the ball in the net, much to the delight of his colleagues. Then Brooksbank headed wide from Smith's centre and Wright conceded a corner which was punched away in brilliant style by Craig. The Plymouth forwards then broke away in a line, and the ball travelled across from the left to Gallogley, whose shot was well saved by Loram. Exeter then forced a corner, which was cleared by Wright, and a few minutes later a shot from Lewis rebounded from one of the visiting defenders to Brooksbank, who put the City two goals up with a very fine shot which gave Craig no chance. Plymouth, in the later stages, were having more of the play, and Exeter were handicapped by an injury to Lewis, who went to outside-right with Baker coming inside. After Lagan had repulsed a strong Argyle attack, Gerrish was given the ball right in front of goal, but shooting wide lost a fine opportunity of increasing the score, which at the finish was:-
City Reserves 2 goals, Argyle Reserves nil.
Congratulations are in order for the Reserves, for on every hand supporters enthused over this game, saying that it was as good and as fast as ninety per cent of Southern League matches at Exeter. There was not a single weak spot in the side, and if one player should be especially praised, it is Marshall.
Thursday, September 11th.
BUDLEIGH SALTERTON v EXETER CITY.
The newly formed Soccer Club of Budleigh Salterton opened the season today when they entertained Exeter City, who kindly arranged to pay a visit and give an exhibition game. The attendance was a good one, the spectators being delighted with the play of the Grecians. In the first half Salterton defended well, Teed, the goalkeeper, saving on several occasions. Goals were scored for the City by Smith and Brooksbank (2), whilst Lane, of Salterton, kicked into his own goal.
The second half was more in favour of the City, who kept up an attack practically throughout. Teed, Wilkes and Toop, however, at times defended well. Brooksbank, Lovett (4), Hunt, and Lee (2) put through for the Grecians, whilst Curtis put through his own goal, making the final score:-
Exeter City 13-0 Budleigh Salterton
Budleigh Salterton:- F.Teed; D.Wilkes, R.Toop; L.Curtis, E.Lane, R.Davidson; P.Perriam, F.Marker, T.Hill, N.Pengilley, R.Bowles.
Exeter City:- Loram; Goddard, Harding; Smith, Lagan, Marshall; W.Budd, Hunt, Brooksbank, Lovett, Lee.
The referee was Mr O.R.Lawrence. Exeter's players and officials were entertained to high tea at the Feathers Hotel at the conclusion of the match.
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