City through to the fourth qualifying round of women's FA Cup
Exeter City Ladies chalked up their first victory of the season when they travelled to the New Milton Town in the third qualifying round of the Women’s FA Cup.
The hosts started brightly and forced City keeper Siobhan Reynolds into two impressive saves to keep the score level.
New Milton continued to have most of the possession and got rewarded when they opened the scoring following some neat work on the right wing and a charging run through the box before a shot was fired past Reynold’s right-hand side.
The goal proved to be a wake-up call for Exeter who started to grow into the game, with excellent composure in midfield from Manfy Sharpe and Courtney Butt.
On half an hour Kate Finch had a chance to equalise but the ball sailed just over the New Milton crossbar.
City came out from half-time looking the stronger side with Dani Skinner providing some strong forward runs looking to play into Finch, and it wasn’t long before she tested the New Milton keeper, who comfortably saved.
A minute later however a scramble in the box allowed Finch to calmly loop the ball over the keeper into the New Milton goal to level the scores.
The momentum was now with City as Sharpe played an excellent through ball to Butt who had a shot on goal, but was deemed to be offside. Dani Skinner's excellent through ball then found the onrushing Finch who shot just wide.
A minute after New Milton were reduced to 10 players, when their defender was shown a red card for bringing down Finch in a clear goalscoring opportunity. The subsequent free-kick was fired just over from Skinner and shortly after the game ended with the scores level at 1-1 meaning that half an hour’s extra-time would be needed.
The first half of extra-time started brightly for City with some great runs from Lauryn Proctor and Emily Toogood pinning New Milton back into their own half.
The visitors were now dominating the game and they were looking the likeliest to score. Finch forced a fantastic close range save from the New Milton goalkeeper. City’s winning goal came at the second attempt for Finch who fired calmly past the keeper to make it 2-1.
Exeter saw the game out comfortably and will now progress into the FA Women's Cup Fourth Qualifying Round.
Afterwards, a very happy City manager Adam Grove said: “We were not at our best for the first 20 minutes and we failed to keep good possession of the ball and allowed New Milton to go ahead.
"However, we then changed our shape to allow us to focus more on our normal attacking approach and we started to look comfortable. Being 1-0 down at half-time and winning the game 2-1 shows the fantastic character we have in our squad and I am immensely proud of the players."