Exeter City Ladies 8 Cheltenham Town Ladies 0

Grecians run riot against Robins

Exeter City Ladies finished their Premier League South West D1 season with their most emphatic victory – but it wasn’t quite enough to win the league title on goal difference.

The Grecians knew that a win by an 11-goal margin against Cheltenham Town on the final Sunday of the season would secure them the league title ahead of Forest Green Rovers – and the result wasn’t far from coming in.

Carley Barber was rarely tested in goal, but she had to make the game’s first save as a Cheltenham forward struck a firm half-volley in her direction.

Tash Knapman extended her recorded as the league’s top scorer by opening with an improvised volley as the ball looped her way from the right.  Kirsty Caunter doubled the lead soon after with a firm, bending effort as he came into the box from the left.

Knapman struck twice again within close succession to complete a first-half hat-trick – the latter of which coming after her initial effort was saved but she capitalised on a misunderstanding between goalkeeper and defender to prod in.

The lead was up to five before the break – again Knapman was involved as she drew a clumsy foul in the box, to allow Caunter to add her second from 12 yards.

Cheltenham, keen to keep the score down, put bodies behind the ball after the break – but Vicky Barter was able to tap in from close range when a low cross came in from the right.

Knapman added her fourth with a fine near-post effort when Caunter hung up an inviting cross, and Caunter sealed a hat-trick of her own as she directed in with the ball pinballing around the box.

Ultimately time just ran out on the Grecians to find the three remaining goals they needed, but the 8-0 winning result and terrific performance was greeted with hearty applause.