Southampton (Home) 23rd December 1911
Plymouth and District League
Babbacombe v City Reserves
EXETER CITY v SOUTHAMPTON.
Saturday, December 23rd 1911.
Exeter Try New Forward Experiment EXCITING INCIDENTS:
ONE OF THE SAINTS ORDERED OFF
CITY 2 SOUTHAMPTON 2.
Last season: City 0 Saints 0.
In 1909-10: City 2 Saints 0.
Southampton, the "Saints", were the visitors to St. James's Park this afternoon, and the match promised to provide a keen struggle, from the fact that both clubs were very similarly placed in the table, and both in dire need of points. Before today's game Southampton were 16th and Exeter 17th. A win for either side today was fairly certain to mean a helpful lift up the chart.
THE CITY Chapman Fort Coates Rigby Bassett Prideaux Whittaker (E) Kent Watson Cornan Lockett
Referee:- Mr C.J. Ross, of Aldershot.
Gibson Prince Hamilton Brown Wilcox McAlpine Lee Kimpton Robertson Eastham Knight
Southampton made one change from the side which beat New Brompton at the Dell last week, Gibson coming in at outside left for Handley, who came from Bradford City and is now on the injured list. Gibson, a small and rather lightly built winger, was secured from Strathclyde. Of the other men in the visiting ranks Knight, the goalkeeper, is 5ft.llins., and came from Stourbridge, Bert Lee is the old "Saint" who once got his "cap" for England, and afterwards went to Dundee, returning to Southampton this season. Wilcox, the outside-right, came from Birmingham, and Harry Brown is another player who has returned to the Dell after a lengthy absence.
Watson at Centre-Forward.
Exeter City had Evans, Pratt, Garside, and Parnell on the injury list. Fort partnered Coates, and in the half-back line Griffiths was replaced by Rigby. It was expected at one time that a new amateur centre-forward would be available, but the club was doomed to disappointment in this matter, and it was decided to play Bob Watson, by way of an experiment, in the middle of the line. The vacant inside berth went to T.R. Kent, the old St. Luke's amateur, who is staying in Exeter during Christmas. At the last minute Chapman was substituted for Whittaker, the senior goalkeeper's finger troubling him again.
City in Green and White.
Southampton played in their red and white stripes, which have been their colours for many years, and as this was also Exeter City's colours the Grecians came out in green and white, their old colours. As a compliment to Arthur Chadwick and Mr Norman Kendall, both formerly associated with Southampton, the Exeter City Band played "Auld Lang Syne". Watson, who was the captain again for today's match, lost the toss, and kicked off himself. A delay was caused by reason of the ball having to be changed. The first one did not suit the referee, and three were kicked out for him to sample, somebody in the crowd shouting "Won't one do?" Thanks to Watson the City at once got to the Southampton end, and Cornan forced a corner. From this Bassett steered the ball over the bar. The Saints then transferred play, and from a centre by Wilcox, Prince headed over, while in their next attack Hamilton's shot was saved by Chapman. Watson led an Exeter raid, and shot just as he was charged over, narrowly missing the goal. Lockett got through in good style, although harassed by Eastham, and after Watson had bundled into Knight, Bassett, from fifteen yards out, lifted the ball over the bar. Exeter still pressed, and were playing very well indeed. Chapman saved from Hamilton, and dodged two opponents who were rushing at him. At the end of ten minutes
Cornan scored a fine goal. Whittaker took the ball past Lee and McAlpine and centred to Cornan, who measured his distance coolly and gave Knight no chance with a rising ball.
The Saints attacked with vigour, and Coates, in trying to get the ball, was lamed, and retired behind the goal-line. In the next rush Chapman was also laid out, and Mr Ross allowed the game to proceed for some time amid the calls of the crowd before his attention was finally directed by Watson towards the Exeter custodian. Eventually both men resumed to a round of applause from the crowd.
Chapman Carried Off;
Watson in Goal.
Lockett from thirty yards drove in a cross-shot which went over the bar. Prince was fouled close to the penalty area but the referee signalled for play to continue. Coates had not recovered properly from his injury, and was limping so badly that he was practically helpless, putting the Grecians under a severe handicap. Nevertheless their forwards were still very much in the picture, and getting more of the ball than their rivals, and Cornan fired over the bar following a neat move by Kent. At the other end Chapman saved from Prince, and then fell down helpless, lamed again. The ball ran loose to Prince, who fired in a shot, and Coates deliberately handled to keep the leather out of the net. The whistle had not blown for the injury to Chapman, and Southampton therefore appealed for a penalty. The referee, however, threw the ball down, and then gave a penalty for hands in the scrimmage which followed. Watson went into goal as Chapman was being carried off, and Eastham came up to take the kick. To everyone's surprise and delight Watson saved the penalty and Coates cleared from the rebound. Mr Ross thereupon ordered the kick to be retaken for a technical infringement, amid a storm of booing and shouting from the crowd, and Watson saved Eastham's second shot, but the Saints' skipper followed up and scored from the rebound. The booing was now loud and long, and came from all parts of the ground. Still more exciting incidents were to follow. One of the Southampton forwards was fouled by Fort just outside the penalty line, and from the free-kick Brown scored.
Brown Ordered Off.
The crowd was now booing the visiting players every time one of them touched the ball, and feeling ran high on the field as a result. Cornan tackled Brown and obtained the ball, and was deliberately kicked by the Southampton forward. The referee at once ordered Brown off, and would listen to no protests. Amid the excitement which followed a spectator came on the field and joined in the counselling of the referee. He was pushed away by the Southampton players, but Brown still had to go, and he went off as Cornan was being helped to the dressing room by Chadwick.
A Hopeless Fight.
These were of course unparalled happenings for St. James's Park, and the City team now had nine players including one cripple, and Southampton had ten. With three forwards the City struggled on, but it was a hopeless fight.
SOUTHAMPTON 2-1 EXETER CITY
The attendance numbered about four thousand at the interval. Cornan came out for the second half, but Chapman was reported to be suffering from strained tendons of the thigh, Coates limping, and Watson was in goal. Coates went outside-right in this half, leaving Fort as the only back. Lockett dropped back to a position among the half-backs, and altogether the Exeter men were playing under what was probably the biggest handicap which ever faced a team. It was a wonder they were not simply overwhelmed.
The game was of course utterly ruined from a football point of view, and stoppages for offside were frequent. Under all the extenuating circumstances Exeter played wonderfully well, and continued to toil away in the hope of avoiding further goals against them. Whittaker forced a corner which was cleared by Eastham, and Rigby skimmed the bar with a tremendous drive. Yet with the odds so heavily against them the City obtained an equalising goal about twenty minutes after the restart. The ball was swung inwards by Cornan, and Kent tapped it over to Whittaker. Knight came out to meet Whittaker, but the young outside-right shot at just the right moment, and the ball went spinning into the unguarded net, amid great enthusiasm. It was a fine performance under the conditions prevailing, and the goal put new life into the game. Southampton pressed heavily, but Fort and Bassett were very sound, and covered Watson well, and Bob dealt with everything that came his way just like he did in that memorable game at Norwich last season. Whittaker had another chance from Cornan's centre, but he was in the mixture of mud and sawdust in the penalty area and could not get sufficient power behind the ball. Cornan lofted over another good centre, and Knight was nearly rushed through his goal. Thus Southampton by no means had things all their own way. Bassett was now playing left-back alongside Fort, who was doing heroic deeds in the City defence. A free kick against Bassett looked dangerous, but Hamilton headed over, and Gibson put the ball behind from an intended centre. Once or twice the visitors looked like snatching a goal, but the City defenders played the game of their lives.
Notes on the Game.
The four thousand spectators will surely never see a more remarkable game, and they will certainly never see any team handicapped as Exeter were.
The sensational events of late in the first half left the City with the following team: Watson (goal); Fort (back); Rigby, Bassett, Prideaux (half backs); Whittaker, Kent, Cornan, Lockett (forwards). Prideaux and Bassett both played back at different times, Lockett was in the half-back line for part of the game, and in the second half Cornan patrolled the left hand side of the field alone!
Yet this side held the Saints at bay all through the second half, for although Coates came out he could only hobble about on the right wing, and Cornan was of course also crippled. Not only did this combination hold Southampton, they actually scored a goal without response. Their stubborn fight against odds deserves to go down numbered among the very best of the City's performances in Southern League football.
BABBACOMBE v CITY RESERVES. Plymouth and District League.
Glorious weather prevailed at Plainmoor, where the Reserves were defeated 3-0 by Babbacombe. Priscott opened the scoring before the interval, and further goals were added afterwards by Burgoyne and Griffiths, who put the ball into his own net in attempting to clear.