Exeter City Women continue their pursuit of Cup glory this weekend as the Women’s FA Cup takes centre stage. AFC Bournemouth are the visitors to the Exwick Sports Hub on Sunday in a first-round tie.
Manager Steve Cuss brings his Cherries team to Devon in strong form. Over the Summer months Cuss recruited well, with the departure of last season’s top goal scorer Becki Bath came the arrival of Shannon Albuery from Portsmouth.
As the leading markswomen in the division above, Albuery would have a been a significant addition to any squad in that league, so to sign for a team in the division below is a testament to the ambition of the Dorset side. Albuery hit thirty-five goals for Portsmouth last season and already has ten from her twelve games this campaign.
Helen Bleazard, a name familiar to West Country football fans after her spells at Plymouth Argyle and Bridgewater, adds experience to the midfield after her summer arrival, whilst defender Lauren Kelly has made the switch across the coast from Poole Town to offer more defensive options. The recent signing of Beth Everson from St Austell will add to the Cherries attacking threat, Everson a scorer at the Hub on her early season visit with the Cornish side.
AFC Bournemouth were the opponents to St James Park in last month's showpiece fixture, a tightly fought contest turned the Grecians way with two quick goals from Jenna Markham mid-way through the second half, City eventually winning 3-1. Victories over Larkhall, Southampton Women’s FC and Forest Green Rovers have followed, with defeats against Cardiff City and, more surprisingly, Ashford Town last weekend, all pointing to an inconsistent spell for Cuss’ team.
City joint Manager Aaron Wakley is looking forward to another excellent contest on Sunday. “We are really looking forward to the game. The FA Cup is a special competition and our run to the fourth-round last season was a real highlight. We will be hoping to emulate that this season if we can. Both teams know each other well and know each other's strengths, so it should be a cracking cup tie. Hopefully, we can get as many supporters along on Sunday to cheer the girls on and help us get into the second round.”
City have won seven consecutive games and will be hoping to make it eight on Sunday and edge closer to a big cup draw. With Albuery, Cooper, Pengelly and Stacey all among the division’s top scorers, and Jenna Markham in clinical form, it looks all set to be an entertaining contest at the weekend.