Exeter City Women bounced back from the previous weekend’s defeat with an emphatic victory over Feniton, hitting eleven goals as they progressed to the Devon County Premier Cup Final.
Abbie Britton and Aaron Wakley made three changes to the line up, and those returning players made an instant impact. Katie Grigg, recalled after impressing in training in recent weeks, sent a dangerous cross in towards the Feniton goal and as the defender attempted to clear, the ball was diverted into the net for an early lead. Minutes later it was two. After Emily Toogood was fouled, Connie Pengelly’s free kick was headed towards goal by Jaydee Seaman and Meg Robinson was in the right place to convert from close range.
Sarah Stacey had already been causing problems for the Feniton backline, and she would put City in a commanding lead with only eleven minutes played. Pengelly turned away from her marker with more exceptional hold up play, before playing in Stacey who slotted the ball home for number three on the slide. Stacey tested the handling of Sam Lacey in the Feniton goal with two fierce strikes, before Pengelly added her first. Jaydee Seaman struck an outstanding diagonal pass from defence and, with Pengelly in on goal, there was only going to be one outcome as she eased the ball into the far corner of the net.
There was an element of good fortune about the fifth, a neatly worked short corner led to Pengelly sending in another wicked delivery. This time the ball dipped over Lacey and into the far corner of the net. The young City forward is not only an outstanding finisher, but her crossing ability gives City a significant weapon in their attacking armour.
Jaydee Seaman has been a key member of the Grecians backline this season, but since her arrival from Plymouth Argyle last year, the defender had yet to get a goal. As Feniton twice failed to get any distance on a defensive header, the popular defender was in the right place to volley home a sixth, a finish that any forward would have been pleased with.
City would add a seventh just before half time. There was more Pengelly magic from a set piece, with Charley Prouse winning the header and Meg Robinson again in the right place as she volleyed home from close range. Half Time and City comfortably ahead.
If Abbie Britton and Aaron Wakley had any concerns over the intensity from their team in the second half, they were soon dispelled. Sarah Stacey provided more exceptional hold up play and her pass behind the Feniton defence was slotted past Lacey for an eighth.
For the difficult afternoon it was turning into for Feniton, their commitment never wavered and a rare attack needed Manfy Sharpe to be at her best with a well timed challenge to prevent the shooting opportunity.
City were soon back on the score sheet with more Pengelly wizardry from a set piece and as the ball dipped to the back post from an attempted clearance, Sarah Stacey was in the perfect place to nod the ball over the line. Steph Beck rattled the crossbar as City contented to probe away, before Stacey completed her hat trick. Meg Robinson’s driving run, Pengelly’s pass behind the defence and a cushioned lay off for Stacey to chip the keeper, City at their slick best, despite the heavy pitch.
An unfortunate injury meant that the Grecians played the last fifteen minutes with only ten players, but that did not prevent one more goal. Katie Grigg, who was now in full flow on the City right, delivered a cross to the edge of the penalty area where Pengelly held off the defender before drilling home her third and the teams eleventh.
The perfect response from the disappointment of the defeat to Maidenhead and it sets the team up for a huge weekend ahead. With the FA Cup Fourth Round tie at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, and the chance to progress to the Fifth Round for the first time in the Club’s history, the empathic nature of this victory will give confidence for the tie. The Devon County Cup victory last May was a momentum builder in to the excellent season that the Grecians are currently having, they will now return to Coach Road on April 22nd to play Torquay United in an effort to retain their trophy.