Match 01
Southern League 3rd September 1910
Exeter City v Brentford

Saturday, September 3rd 1910. SOUTHERN LEAGUE.
Opening Match
at St. James's Park

Exeter City opened their third Southern League campaign with a home match against Brentford, it being the first time that their initial game of the season has been played at St. James's Park. The Grecians, unfortunately, were below full strength, Watson, the captain, and Tom Griffiths, left half, both being absent through injuries incurred in the practice matches. Watson's place was given to Hughes, who had already created an excellent impression, while Prideaux was at left half, and thus, by a slice of luck, jumped straight from Plymouth and District League football to the Southern League at the very outset of his professional career. Brentford entered the field a ready made combination, so to speak, for they relied on nine of the men who finished up last season in such consistent form. The two newcomers were Kennedy and Ryalls, formerly of Chelsea and Notts Forest respectively. Brentford, who had stayed overnight at Teignmouth, arrived on the ground at 3 o'clock, and it was then announced that Anderson (outside left) had been taken ill, his place being given to Frost, a young player from Wallsend, who had not previously played in League football. Teams :
W.Whittaker; Evans and Jones; Bassett, Pratt, and Prideaux; Parnell, Hughes, James, Bell, and Garside.
Ling; Rhodes and Buxton; Richards, Hamilton, and Kennedy; Ryalls, Bartlett, Reid, Hollinrake, and Frost.
Referee: Mr C.R.Hall, of Birmingham. Linesmen: Messrs P.T. Narracott and J.H.Wiltshire.

At three o'clock there were well over 3,000 present, this number being eventually increased to quite 7,000. The afternoon was ideal from a spectator's point of view, though no doubt slightly too warm, to say the least of it, for the players. Brentford were first out, and got a good reception, but nothing like that accorded Walter Whittaker, who has been elected vice-captain, when he led the City team out to the inevitable strains of "Uncle Tom Cobleigh". Whittaker unfortunately lost the toss and the City were set to face the sun. At 3.30 James set the ball rolling, Bassett partly lost it, but quickly recovered possession and passed forward to Hughes, who made ground quickly but then shot wide. Hand-ball by James spoilt an attack, but the Grecians returned, and a long sweeping pass intended for Parnell went over the goal-line. Pratt was twice cheered for clever tackling, but Brentford were not to be denied, and Bartlett dribbled past Jones and fired in a splendid drive which Whittaker had to jump sideways to save.
Quickly play went to the other end, and Ling, jumping up, punched clear a high shot from Parnell. Bell tricked two opponents, but sent the ball yards the wrong side of the post, and then Jones came to the City's rescue just in time as Reid forced his way through. The first corner of the game fell to Brentford, and for a moment or two the situation looked dangerous for Exeter, but Frost finally kicked high over the bar. At this stage the visitors were more than holding their own, and their long swinging passes were a constant source of danger. Parnell was fouled, and from the free kick Bell sent in a rising shot which Ling just managed to tip over. The corner resulted in the ball going to James, and Ling was lucky to beat out his shot. From the rebound, with everybody expecting a goal, the City inside-left sliced the ball wide of the mark. A better attempt came from Hughes when he put in a rising shot, taken on the run, which went just over the bar. Frost tried a novel method of checking Evans by holding his foot while on the ground, but Mr Hall was too experienced for anything so amateurish, and the whistle promptly blew for a free kick. Pratt and Bassett were playing well in Exeter's defence, and Hughes nearly got through but was checked just in time by Rhodes.
Half-time, 0 - 0.
The second half opened with Brentford attacking, but Parnell got away and transferred the scene of operations, and Hughes had the bad luck to see a fine drive saved by Ling. Parnell narrowly missed with a shot taken on the run, then Pratt was fouled but misjudged a back pass when his free kick was charged down. Ten minutes from the end a penalty was given against Brentford for "hands", and Whittaker came up to take the kick. He drove the ball straight at Ling, however, who jumped up and saved. Whittaker failed to bustle the other goalkeeper off the ball was he came out, and Ling finally cleared his lines. The failure to convert the penalty took all interest out of the game, and with time drawing near Brentford resorted to dallying tactics, amidst derisive cheering.
Final score: -

(Last season: Exeter City 4 Brentford 1. In 1908-09: Brentford 2 Exeter City 1.)

It cannot be said that Exeter City, in effecting a draw, covered themselves with glory, for with the chances that came their way an easy victory should have been recorded. With only three of last season's players on duty, the team was naturally somewhat of an experimental one but it is difficult, nevertheless, to find any excuse for their failure to win this match. In addition to the inability of the forwards, Walt Whittaker missed a penalty, and this of course only made the result more disappointing to the home supporters. There was plenty to enthuse over in the opening stages, and Ling did well in stopping a hot shot from Hughes. Brentford, with a very
dazzling sun at their backs, attacked in a very determined manner, which illustrated their ability to move. Some excellent work by Pratt and his half-back colleagues, however, frustrated all their attempts. It had been noticeable at this stage that combination was almost at a premium, neither set of forwards making anything approaching a sound, methodical attack. The concluding stages were of a very uninteresting character, and a lot of touch-kicking was indulged in. The City should have won easily, but chances were allowed to go astray with remarkable rapidity. Individual members of the team also preferred to do too much on their own, and this was one of the chief causes of the failure to win a victory. Pratt played a great game at centre half, and Bassett made a useful partner. Jones was as good as ever, and Evans improved considerably in the second half. Whittaker kept a good goal against his old club, and one save by him in the first half was brilliant.


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