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League Two Lowdown: Exeter

24 July 2013

Our look at Pompey's 2013/14 opponents continues with the Grecians

Meetings with Pompey
The last time Pompey met Exeter competitively, it was the first step of the Blues’ famous FA Cup run which took Jim Smith’s side all the way to the semi-finals and two memorable matches against Liverpool.

Goals from Guy Whittingham and Warren Aspinall saw the hosts triumph 2-1 at Fratton Park in January 1992.

Exeter were then managed by former Blues boss Alan Ball, who would return for a second stint in charge a few years later.

The first meeting was a Southern League Division One clash in November 1908, when Pompey were soundly beaten 4-1 in Devon.

Goals from William McCafferty and Edward McMahon saw the Blues gain some revenge by winning the return clash 2-0.

The sides first met in the Football League in the 1920/21 campaign. Percival Cherrett scored twice as Pompey won 2-0 at Fratton Park on Good Friday, before playing out a goalless draw at Exeter three days later.

One of the more memorable clashes came in February 1981, when Mick (Yosser) Tait netted a four-minute hat-trick as the Blues demolished their opponents 5-0.

The following season included a 3-3 draw at St James Park, with defender Keith Viney playing the whole of the second half in goal after Alan Knight was forced off with a thigh injury.

In their 18 league and cup meetings, Pompey have won 10 and Exeter three, with five draws.

Exeter history
Exeter City were formed in 1904 after Exeter United lost a game to St Sidwell’s United and the two sides decided to merge.

They started life playing on an old field used for fattening pigs! But that was the St James Park ground that they still play on today.

Their won their first match 2-1 against the 110th Battery of the Royal Artillery on September 10 1904. The winning goal was scored by Sid Thomas, who went on serve the club in a number of roles for the following 70 years.

City topped the East Devon League and transferred to the Plymouth & District League, turning professional in 1908 and taking Tottenham’s place in the Southern League, where they would face Pompey.

Exeter were invited by the Football League to become founder members of the third division in 1920, winning their first match 3-0 against Brentford.

But their success since has been limited and their runners-up spot in Division Three (South) in 1933 remains their highest ever finish. 

Exeter’s only major trophy was the 1989/90 Division Four crown – a season when they won 20 of their 23 home matches and also gained credible draws against Norwich and Sunderland in cup competitions.

They were close to going out of business in November 1994 and were forced to sell their stadium to Beazer Home for £650,000.

The Grecians did exit a prolonged spell of administration in 1996, but were relegated to the Conference after finishing 23rd in 2003 (becoming the first side to be relegated from the Football League without finishing bottom).

They were then taken over by the Supporters Trust, although it took until 2007 for former directors Jack Russell and Mike Lewis to receive a prison sentence and community service order respectively for their part in fraudulent trading at the club.

A money-spinning FA Cup tie against Manchester United – which was taken to an Old Trafford replay – and an agreed CVA went some way to boosting the Exeter’s coffers.

They lost to Morecambe in the 2007 play-off final at Wembley, but beat local rivals Torquay over two legs the following year before defeating Cambridge to secure promotion.

Exeter present
City followed up their Conference success by finishing second and climbing straight into League One.

The 2009/10 campaign was their 45th at that level – more than any other club who have not appeared in the top two tiers.

They survived by a point that year and finished eighth the following campaign, but were relegated back into League Two in 2012 and finished 10th last term.

Information for Pompey fans
Away supporters are housed in the St James’ Road terrace, which holds just over 1,000 people behind one of the goals. An additional 150 seats can be made available in the grandstand.

The ground’s social club is normally open for visiting fans, while the Wells Tavern is located nearby. A short walk will take you to the town centre, where plenty more pubs and food shops can be found.

Travelling by road
Postcode: EX4 6PX
Distance from Fratton Park: 129.7 miles
Estimated drive time: 2 hours 46 minutes

Continue from the A35 onto the A30 and then the A3015. Follow signs for Exeter city centre along Sidmouth Road (A379) and then onto Rydon Lane (S3105). Take the Sidmouth Road turn off (B3183) and keep going towards the town centre as the road become Heavitree Road. Take the fourth exit at the large roundabout onto Western Way. At the next roundabout take the second exit onto Old Tiverton Road, then turn left in St James Road.

Travelling by rail
The journey from Portsmouth stations to Exeter Central lasts around three hours 15 minutes, with one change at Salisbury. The standard adult fare is £47.90

From either Exeter Central or Exeter St Davids, you can catch a local train to St James Park, which is adjacent to the ground. Walking from Exeter Central will take around 20 minutes.

League Two fixtures
Pompey v Exeter: Saturday, November 2 (3pm)
Exeter v Pompey: Saturday, February 8 (3pm)

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