Girls triumph in FA Cup at SJP
Exeter City Ladies booked their place in the FA Women's Cup second round for the first time with a 7-0 victory over Brislington Ladies.
City dominated the first half but only took a single-goal advantage into the interval. But they came out all guns blazing after the break and eventually ran out comprehensive winners.
Exeter started the brightest and Emma Redwood in particular was steaming forward from the right-back position. After linking up well with Lola Garcia Sanchez, Redwood fired a cross into the path of Tash Knapman but her volley was parried out but Jordan Jones in goal.
However an opener was forthcoming, when Redwood was involved again. The right-back fed the ball to Catherine Wright and continued running on – Wright used the dummy run to find space and thrashed a shot from outside the box which beat the outstretched arms of Jones.
The lead may have doubled in spectacular fashion when Sanchez escaped down the right flank and crossed from the byline. Captain Kirsty Caunter made firm contact with her volley but could only steer wide.
Brislington were finding chances limited as the Grecians were retaining the ball well, but Maxine Coupe had to be alert to rush off her line to deny Sophie Whelan, who had been released into the right channel.
Sanchez was having plenty of joy down the right wing and found Caunter again with another low cut-back, but the midfielder’s shot rattled the underside of the crossbar and bounced just the wrong side of the goal-line.
A majority of play was coming down Exeter’s right, but Natalie Shenton did well to cut inside from the left flank and struck a goalwards. However her effort spun wide of the far post and out for a goal-kick.
Despite failing to create many clear chances, Brislington’s front line were showing plenty of endeavour and keeping Tamsin Tully and Kate Hine honest in the heart of defence – and the pairing were dealing with the threats well.
The midfield trio of Caunter, Wright and Leah Brooks were also mopping up anything loose in the centre of the park and distributing positively.
And for all their dominance, Exeter couldn’t seem to find a second goal. Caunter swung over a free-kick towards the far post and the onrushing Marika Ghiglia met it was a header, but it cleared the crossbar.
Half-time: Exeter City Ladies 1 Brislington Ladies 0
The Grecians looked keen to open the scoreline to reflect their early dominance, and came out firing in the second half.
Shortly after the interval, Knapman opened a buffer by pouncing on a corner from close range to double the scoreline.
Manager Steve Tully rung a couple of changes, with Leah Brooks and Natalie Shenton making way for Dani Garland and Carla Staddon.
A third was forthcoming, as Staddon’s first contribution was to nick the ball away from the goalkeeper, shield the ball, and pick out Caunter inside the area. The captain pinged a decisive shot into the back of the net.
The result was put beyond reasonable doubt when Knapman netted a second in similar fashion to her first, as her predatory instincts took over in the six-yard box as she lashed in a fourth for City.
Lola Garcia Sanchez also got a goal that her bright performance deserved soon after, when Marika Ghiglia escaped down the left flank. After the full-back made a great interception, she bombed on and delivered to the far post into the path of the forward who was arriving at the far post, and she struck into the roof of the net.
Caunter then added her name to the scoresheet for a second time by hitting a strike on the bounce which bamboozled the goalkeeper and nestled in the corner.
Then substitute Sophie Lou Simpson, on for Lola Garcia Sanchez, netted her maiden goal for City after being released. After riding a challenge, she hit a left-footed effort which Jones couldn’t keep out.
And that’s the way the match ended, seeing the girls through to the second round of the FA Women’s Cup for the very first time.
Full-time: Exeter City Ladies 7 Brislington Ladies 0
Exeter City Ladies: Coupe; Redwood, Tully, Hine, Ghiglia; Wright, Brooks (Garland), Caunter; Garcia Sanchez (Simpson), Knapman, Shenton (Staddon).
Subs (not used): Maryan, Griffiths.
Goals: Knapman (2), Caunter (2), Wright, Garcia Sanchez, Simpson.
Brislington Ladies: Jones, James, Osborne, Plummer, Whelan, Gunter, Hodgson, Hatton, Reardon, Milkens (Moran), Moore (Preddy).
Subs (not used): Pursell.
Referee: Maaren Olander