University of Exeter AFC faced Exeter City FC in the annual 'Town vs Gown' Varsity Football match. Picture by Joshua Irwandi.

Football Varsity Match Report

Exeter City ran out 3-0 winners in this year’s ‘Town v Gown’ football varsity against the University of Exeter in front of a raucous, record 3,932 crowd at St James’ Park on Wednesday 3rd October.

After an even first period, with neither side creating any guilt-edge chances, the ‘Town’ pulled away in the second half with a calamitous own goal from Uni’s Higgins and strikes from Jagger-Cane and substitute Watkins.

City have now extended their run to five wins from five in the fixture. This is the first time in the history of this fixture that the University have failed to score.

Despite the 3-0 score line the ‘Gown’ can be pleased with their efforts against their professional counterparts. They started the match brightly but despite enjoying a larger share of possession could not fashion any chances on goal. Matt Langely had a shot blocked from just inside the box after 20 minutes and Mattheus Marriott was looking lively down the left side.

City produced the first proper effort of the game, striking the post just after the 22 minute mark. They seemed to take confidence from this and started to gain more a foothold in the midfield. City were unable to silence the crowd however, especially the boisterous Athletic Union members in the Big Bank end.

Uni were by no means outclassed in the first 45 minutes and put together a couple of free flowing moves, the final pass just evading them on more than one occasion. Both defences worked very hard in the first half to deny the strikers the chance to put their team in front.

The game needed a goal to break the building tension but the defences stayed strong until half time.

If the University were happy with their first half display they would have been very disappointed with the manner in which they conceded their first goal after 49 minutes. A low cross from the left was just missed by ‘keeper Wilson and in his attempts to put the ball behind, Uni substitute Andy Higgins managed to turn the ball into his own net. 

It was a bitter blow to the Uni who were coping with everything City threw at them up until this point. City began to gain more confidence and Uni’s bubble seemed to have burst with the hosts winning the ongoing midfield battle.

Uni kept pushing hard but still could not create any real goal-scoring opportunities.

The University were then frustrated further as City doubled their lead on 75 minutes; the Grecians’ Jagger-Cane neatly turning in another low cross into the box. EUAFC’s confidence was now shot and mistakes were creeping in with City’s fitness proving vital. Pete Beadle continued to work hard in the centre of midfield and ran himself into the ground, having to limp off with a tight hamstring late on.

City took full advantage of a tired University XI, creating chances at will. In the 78th minute the hosts made it 3-0 with Oli Watkins chipping substitute goalkeeper Ryan Pardo after a goalmouth scramble.

With the game won City now created a hatful of chances, if it was not for a few fantastic saves from Pardo the margin could have been much greater.

There can be no faulting the effort the Uni boys put in over the course of the game but City’s superior fitness and technique proved pivotal in the end.

Uni’s Magnus Assmundson commented; “We started very strongly in the first half, our good shape in defence and midfield allowed us to win the ball back and create some well worked moves, although there was a lack of threat against the City goal.

“The second half was a different story; our tired legs were no Match for city's quality and composure on the ball.

“As for the rest of the season we look to take the positives from this fixture into our next few SW peninsula league games, in preparation for the upcoming BUCS season which begins on the 17 October.

“I believe with the squad’s strength in depth we have a good chance of promotion back into the BUCS Premier south”

The Varsity is in aid of The Cardiomyopathy Association and The Adam Stansfield Foundation and its inception followed the tragic death of Mike Polden, a popular footballer at the University in 2001.

Report by Will Kelleher.

Date: 5 October 2012