Saturday 13th September
Exeter v Reading
Plymouth Argyle Reserves v City Reserves
Monday 15th September
Merthyr v Exeter (Southern Charity Cup)
GRECIANS' FIRST MATCH AT HOME
Saturday 13th September 1913
Exeter City v Reading
This afternoon Exeter City played their first home League match of the season. The opposition was provided by Reading, a team that had never beaten them in the past, but one which was fully expected to give them a heavy task today. The "Biscuitmen" have, in this campaign, the same side available as that which did so well last year, except that Willis takes the place of Bradley at left-half.
Willis is an old Reading player who went to Newcastle a few seasons ago, and for a long time played in the English League. He has now returned to his first love, and it is generally admitted that he strengthens the side.
As compared with the corresponding match of last year, Reading expected to have ten of the same men playing, Bradley being the only absentee, but Exeter had only four, namely Fort, Whittaker, Rigby, and Pym.
Reading arrived at Exeter an hour and a half before the start, and then announced three changes, the surprise to Exonians being that Reg. Pinfield, the amateur, was unable to accompany the team. His place at outside-left was taken by Lofthouse. With Burton also being unable to play, Brown, the ex-Coventry forward, operated at inside-right, Bailey crossing over to inside-left.
Pym,Fort Strettle,Rigby Pratt Evans,Whittaker Kirby Brooksbank McCann Orr
Referee:- Mr G. J. Ross, of Aldershot.
Clifford, Stevens, Smith, Comrie,Hanney, Willis, Morris,Brown, Foster, Bailey, Lofthouse
The weather was very threatening before the start, but there were early prospects of a big crowd. The turf was in excellent condition, and a good game was expected.
Just before the teams turned out a heavy shower came on, and a gale of wind swept across the ground, driving the Band off and the enclosure spectators to the shelter of the grandstand. As luck, or rather bad luck, would have it this rain came on early enough to affect the attendance, and the City's well known bad luck with the weather has started early this season. At 3.35 the rain was simply lashing down, and in this storm Smith led Reading on to the field. Kirby followed closely at the head of the Grecians.
Kirby lost the toss, and Exeter had to start towards the city end with the rain in their faces. Reading attacked on the left, but a foul was given against Lofthouse. Smith got the ball when Kirby was going for goal, and a few minutes later the new City captain kicked over his own goal-line. The resultant corner was cleared by Whittaker.
Lofthouse got away on the Reading left wing, but was stopped by Fort, who enabled Strettle to clear. Kirby's clever work aroused the hopes of the crowd, but Smith and Stevens were safe, and at length Clifford punched clear. Willis slipped a nice pass through to Lofthouse, but he was closely covered and made no headway. Play returned to midfield, but Brooksbank got moving, putting in a good shot which was saved by Clifford. In a sharp raid by the visitors Morris put the ball over the bar from a difficult angle. The rain continued to fall heavily, and the conditions were unpleasant for players and spectators alike. Strettle saved from Foster, and with Reading attacking on the left wing Rigby was laid out. He was able to resume, however, after attention from the trainer. So far Exeter had done most of the attacking, and the forwards were combining well, but they were up against two fine backs in Smith and Stevens. Strettle sent to touch when Morris was trying to find a way through, then a free kick was given Exeter for a foul throw-in. Pym saved from Foster, who had been put through by Comrie, and the ball was then forced over the line following a melee in the Exeter penalty area. But the referee ruled that Pym had been impeded in the skirmish, and the City were given a free kick. The game was being contested at a hot pace, and Hanney was pulled up for a foul on Kirby. The free kick came to nothing, and Reading at once attacked, Pratt eventually getting the ball away from Foster. Kirby, with clever footwork, slipped past Hanney and put a square pass across to Brooksbank, from whom Clifford saved. A few seconds later the custodian saved brilliantly from Kirby, and at this stage Exeter were having the best of the game. Stevens had to use his speed to stop Whittaker, then Reading got away again, Fort kicking clear from Bailey and Pym having to save from the same player. Hanney tried a shot from about forty yards out, but it was badly directed and sailed harmlessly over the goal-line well wide of the posts.
A Remarkable Goal.
Clifford was frequently in action, two of his saves, from McCann and Whittaker being especially noteworthy, and the ball hovered around the Reading goal amid great excitement. At the other end Bailey missed by inches only with Pym throwing himself across his goal, and Lofthouse volleyed the ball over the bar in a further Reading attack. It was, in fact, Reading who scored the opening goal ten minutes before half-time. Play was twenty-five yards from the Exeter line when Brown suddenly scored with a fast rising shot which went to the top corner of the rigging, giving Pym no earthly chance. It was a remarkable goal, but Reading hardly deserved it in view of the amount of attacking Exeter had done. Kirby made a great effort to get on terms, but was given offside, and Hanney headed away a free kick just at the corner of the penalty area, given against Willis. Exeter won a corner, from which Brooksbank headed over with Pratt running in to a very likely position, and just on half-time Pym saved well from Bailey.
Half-time:- Reading 1-0 City
Exeter attacked immediately at the restart, and forced a corner on the right, from which Kirby headed on to the top of the bar. A minute or two later Willis intercepted a pass from Pratt, intended for Kirby, and sent Lofthouse off. The Reading outside-left went right to the goal-line at great speed, but his pass to Brown was volleyed high over the bar. The City returned in splendid style, and Brooksbank was showing plenty of dash in the centre. Once he slipped through when Smith missed, but pushed the ball down with his hand. Reading attacked in earnest, and Bailey and Lofthouse were very persistent. Pym saved a great drive by Foster on his knees, gathering the ball safely, then he won further applause when he stopped a shot from Brown which came in unexpectedly. Whittaker successfully appealed for hands just outside the Reading penalty area. The leather was nicely placed by Rigby, but Hanney headed clear but only to McCann, whose screw shot was saved by Clifford.
Brooksbank's Bad Miss.
Smith and Orr were both winded in a collision, and the Exeter winger seemed badly shaken up. In these stages Reading certainly seemed a better balanced side than the City, and the home passes were continually going astray. An overhead kick by Kirby was off the mark. With ten minutes remaining, Lofthouse had a great chance to put the issue beyond doubt. Lorris lifted the ball across to him and he only had Pym to beat, but he fumbled and Strettle and Evans dashed in. At the Reading end Whittaker put behind when he had a fine opportunity to centre into the goalmouth. It was so unlike Whittaker, but so like much that the City were doing in this half. They could do very little right, and Reading, knowing the final whistle to be drawing very near, were holding on to their lead like grim death. Just before the close Orr forced a corner, and there was a desperate scramble in the Reading goal, but nothing came of it. Another corner was won on the right, forced by Whittaker, but he placed it short, and Hanney cleared. The last chance came when Whittaker centred and Kirby headed forward to give Brooksbank a wonderful chance, but the centre-forward, in over-eagerness shot a yard wide amid howls of disappointment from the crowd. In the very last minute a corner to Exeter was scrambled away, and the game ended with the result:-
READING 1-0 CITY
Notes on the Game.
Reading were a better team than Exeter, especially in the second half, and nobody can fairly begrudge them the spoils of a. game in which the City disappointed their supporters bitterly. When Reading get Burnham and Pinfield back into their side again they will be a force to be reckoned with. They are a well-built team, and having been together all last season, they know one another's play to a nicety. In particular, their half-backs are all fine exponents of the game, and the tall Hanney, in the centre, dominated play very often on his own. Despite the rain and the slippery ground and ball, the first half was very good. There were times in it when Exeter were much the better side, and playing forceful football. They gave promise of good things to come, but that promise was never fulfilled, and after Brown had scored with a brilliant, but perhaps lucky, screw shot, the City never looked like getting on terms. The best chance fell to Brooksbank a minute before the finish, but he put the ball weakly outside after Kirby had given him a clear opening. In the second half the Grecians opened moderately and went from bad to worse. Kirby and Brooksbank changed places for a time, but this had no effect, and this second half witnessed one of the poorest forward displays from Exeter for a long time. The forward line of today does not look likely to settle down into a good attack, and it looks as though some changes are bound to be made, on this form. The falling away of the forwards in the end affected the rest of the team, and late in the game Evans was only a shadow of his real self. In this half Fort was the best man in the side, but his fine play after the interval followed rather a shaky opening, and taking the game as a whole Strettle was more consistent. Rigby and Pratt never wavered, but it is only with a very sparing hand that any praise can be given at all. The greasy ball and the slippery turf made good passing difficult, but the conditions were the same for both sides, and are not adequate excuses. Exeter are now bracketed at the bottom of the League with Cardiff City and Queen's Park Rangers, none of these sides as yet having scored a single point.
ARGYLE RESERVES v CITY RESERVES.
Plymouth and District League.
Exeter and Argyle second strings played their return match at Home Park in wet weather, which affected the attendance. Plymouth kicked off against the rain, and after attacking movements by Rutter and Raymond had been frustrated by Harding, the Exonians got going, and Hunt lifted over the bar in a good attempt. The City goal next had an exceptionally narrow escape, Dixon being robbed by Harding on the goal-line. Hands by Raymond came as a relief to the Grecians, and at the other end Lee fired in a fast shot which Craig tipped over for an abortive corner. Craig then saved from Lovett. A clever run by Rutter then got the Grecians' defence in difficulties, and Kellock, receiving his pass, dashed in and scored with a splendid shot.
Half-time: Plymouth 1, Exeter City 0.
Immediately on the restart the Argyle were given a penalty for hands, and Kellock scored from the kick. Plymouth continued to have the better of the play, and Loram saved from Rutter in brilliant fashion. Rutter was responsible for a narrow miss, and at the other end Hunt appeared to be right through, but was stopped by Paltridge just in time.
Result: Argyle Reserves 2, City Reserves nil.
Argyle:- Craig; W.Forbes and J.Wright; Tainsh, W.Butler, and Paltridge; Read, Gallogley, Rutter, H.W.Raymond, and Dixon.
City:- Loram; Goddard and Harding; Smith, Lagan, and Marshall; Holt, Lewis, Lovett, bunt, and Lee.
Monday, September 15th.
The Southern Charity Cup.
GRECIANS AT MERTHYR
Beaten in the First Round
Merthyr Town beat Exeter City by two goals to one at Penydarren Park in the opening match for the Charity Cup. The match kicked-off in the evening, and a crowd of six thousand was present.
Craig Gates Metcalfe
Savage Coates Draper Hiftle Taylor
Orr Kirby Brooksbank Lovett Whittaker
Marshall Lagan Smith
The Grecians were scarcely representative, and an experimental half-back line was used. Rigby has failed to find his form of last season, while Evans has not yet done justice to the reputation he gained at Blackpool. Pratt was unfit.
Merthyr Town are top of the Southern League, having won their first two matches, against Bristol Rovers (home) and Queen's Park Rangers (away). Nevertheless they made two changes in their forward line, Savage (outside-right) and Draper (centre-forward) playing instead of Stewart and McKie.
Exeter Score First.
The City pressed at the outset, and Lovett, from a position in front of goal and a range of ten yards, scored after 20 minutes. From that point to the close Merthyr Town had slightly more of the exchanges, with Taylor always prominent. In the second half Pym was beaten by shots from Savage and Draper
Merthyr Town 2-1 Exeter City
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