Grecians earn home win thanks to Knapman braceExeter City Ladies overcame tough opposition in the form of Chichester at St Martins, recording a 2-0 victory against their guests.
Exeter started brightly playing good football and keeping their shape very well – numerous corners were won by the home side but to no avail. The closest they came to breaking the deadlock came when a ball from the left was half-volleyed against the upright by Lola Garcia Sanchez.
Chichester thought they had opened the scoring when a long throw evaded everybody in the penalty area and bounced over Carley Barber into the net, but as no one had touched the ball, a goal-kick was instead awarded.
The visitors were often caught in possession when trying to play out from the back, with Exeter pressing high. Garcia Sanchez and Vicky Barter both had chances, as did Marika Ghiglia whose drilled left-footed effort was palmed wide at full stretch.
A moment of madness allowed Exeter to take the lead before half-time – after a Garcia Sanchez effort wormed through to the goalkeeper, she spotted the ball on the six-yard box despite no flag for offside or whistle for a foul or goal-kick. Tash Knapman, predatory as ever, tapped in – the referee consulted his assistant to make sure there was no infringement, and the goal was given.
In the second period Chichester had chances mainly from free kicks but Carley Barber continued her fine form by pulling off some great saves. The closest Chichester came was when a free¬-kick was saved by Barber onto the crossbar and the ball fell to the striker who headed over from close range. Great defending by left-back Carly Bray also prevented Chichester from getting in any crosses.
Helen Kukor was replaced by Courtney Butt on the hour and within two minutes Exeter had scored another. Again it was good pressing off the ball resulted in a back-pass by the visiting left-back, and another mistake by the goalkeeper who let the ball roll underneath her foot towards goal – Knapman again was quickest to react and forced home despite the attempted recovery from the stopper.
Sophie Simpson and Emily Angus replaced Barter and Knapman respectively in the closing stages as the Exeter Ladies maintained their place in third in the early stages of the league season.