Encouraging start for new-look teamA new look Exeter City Ladies side gave a good account of themselves on their first outing together but in the end had to be content with a goalless draw against Alphington.
City manager Adam Grove who took over the reins earlier in the summer fielded a strong team, for the friendly at the Cliff Hill training ground on Tuesday, that included Nicky Lipscombe in goal; defenders, Dani Skinner, Beth Beale, Karolayne and Kayane Alencar; midfielders, Courteney Butt and Lucie Waddon, with front runners Hollie Stone, Sarah Hill and Kate Finch behind striker Millie Pearce.
The home side made a bright start and enjoyed some good spells of possession dominating centre field. Skinner and Beale played well together in defence and provided the team with patience and solidity at the back, well supported by the experienced Lipscombe in goal.
The first chance fell to City when Pearce sprinted through and placed a good shot to the keeper’s left calling for an outstanding finger tip save. The hosts then created another chance following a great build up which started with Lipscombe and involved Beale who found Butt in the centre of the field. The hard working Alencar sisters ensured the Alphington's defence were made to work and it was Karolayne who, fed by Butt, played a low cross into the 18 yard box however the chance fell just out of reach.
Halfway through the first half hard-working Pearce’s bright start came to an abrupt end when she suffered a broken wrist and was substituted.
Manfy Sharpe came on as a replacement and put in a fine display of skill and judgement showing grit and determination chasing second balls and putting Alphington under constant pressure in the centre of the park.
The visitors best chance of the first half came when they were awarded a free kick 40 yards out, which was well struck and clipped the top of the cross bar with Lipscombe covering.
Finch and Stone showed great awareness and one touch play with their off the ball movement but Alphington defended well to keep it 0-0 at the break.
In the second half the visitors struggled to cope with the pace of City and several chances were created by the Alencar sisters on the wings and only timing and match sharpness prevented a goal.
Later in the game a couple of chances fell to Hill who found the target but with the keeper beaten struck the bottom of the post to leave the score at 0-0.
Not the win the players wanted but at the whistle there was a feeling of quiet content in the City camp with what was a very promising first game for the new squad
Afterwards City manager Grove said: “The girls played very well together for the first time and created the most chances. They showed some real maturity in dealing with an Alphington team that was much more experienced.”
However the new City management team are not sitting back with Chris Heayns working on more signings to bring the squad to a full compliment.
The Director of Football said: “We have a few player's away at the moment and have also been approached by players across the region who have heard of our plans and our player centred approach. The existing players are our best ambassadors and the positive message is getting out so players want to be a part of what is happening.”
He added: “Once the First XI squad is fully settled the next stage will be a U15/16 development squad to train alongside the seniors and provide opportunities for all young female footballers to be part of the new ECFC ladies experience.”
Exeter City's next game is against Bideford Town at home on the evening of Tuesday, August 16, at the same venue kick off 6.30pm and next month they will be unveiling a new shirt sponsor.
Pictured in the teams photo above are (back row, left to right): Dani Skinner, Beth Beale, Manfy Sharpe, Lucie Waddon, Charlotte Smith (trialist), Nicky Lipscomb, Sam Burnham, Emily Toogood, Courtney Butt. Front row: Millie Pearce, Bronwyn Cousins, Kayane Alencar, Karolayne Alencar, Sarah Hill (trialist), Kate Finch, Hollie Stone.