The University of Exeter AFC faced Exeter City in the Annual "Town vs Gown" varsity football match. Picture by Joshua Irwandi.

Record numbers turn out for Football Varsity

Over 3900 students packed St James’ Park stadium last night for the annual “Town vs Gown” football varsity between the University of Exeter AFC and Exeter City FC.

The attendance figure is the highest of any Football Varsity match and the atmosphere was electric with many students dressing up to support the “Green Machine”. Kick off was at 19:45 following pre-match entertainment from the University Cheerleaders and “The Voice” star Hannah Bereney.

University of Exeter AFC Social Secretary Kane Sheppard said “This is the best possible advert for Sport at Exeter. The atmosphere has been fantastic and it’s great to see so many different Athletic Union clubs turning out to cheer the team on; it really sums up Sport at the University with every club supporting each other.”

The first half was evenly fought with both sides missing a number of scoring opportunities. In the second half Exeter City grabbed the lead after an unfortunate own goal by University of Exeter AFC’s defender Andy Higgins as he attempted to clear the ball. The fitness of City then began to show through as the half progressed. Following some close control down the left side Jacob Jagger-Kane slotted in a well placed cross from the city winger to increase the lead.  Soon after City player Matt Jay’s effort was saved by the University keeper but Oli Watkins calmly placed the loose ball in the back of the net. The final score saw Exeter City triumphant with a 3:0 win over the University.

University of Exeter AFC winger Brad Mile’s commented: “It’s been a really enjoyable evening. I think we were the better side in the first half, we worked really hard but City just got the better of us in the second half. The crowd made a great noise and all the lads would like to thank everyone for showing their support”. The man of the match was awarded to the University of Exeter’s Matthaus Marriot for his dominant performance down the left wing.  The officials for the match were Adrian Bond, Dave Keast and Steve Jones.

Exeter City’s Connor Riley-Lowe said “It was a good game and the University side did well. I think in the end the teams were well matched.” Exeter City are currently lying fourth in the nPower League Two and hoping to secure promotion back into the third tier of English football. The side will be hoping to continue their strong start to the season at home against Port Vale on October 6. More information on Exeter City football club can be found on their website [external link].

The Town vs Gown match is held every year to commemorate Mike Polden, a student and football club member who tragically died in 2001 as a result of Cardiomyopathy. Proceeds from the evening will go towards the Cardiomyopathy Association and the Adam Stansfield Foundation. AU President Joe Batten commented; “It’s been an incredible evening. It’s great to see some many people turning up to cheer on the “Green machine”.  Proceeds are going to two fantastic charities and the support we have had this year is truly overwhelming. ”

The University of Exeter AFC will be competing in this year’s British Universities and College’s Sport (BUCS) competition, and are looking to get promoted from their current position in Southern Division One. The BUCS competition is run across over 150 institutions around the country, in which different sports competing to gain points for an overall ranking. The University of Exeter finished the 2011-2012 season a fantastic seventh and will be hoping to build on this achievement.

Keep supporting the Green Machine and Exeter City Football Club this season. Full match report to follow.

Date: 4 October 2012