Exeter City joint playermanager Abbie Britton said it was a great occasion for her team to play at St James Park in the Westward Development Devon Seniors Cup against Buckland Athletic.
The match, which was sponsored by Exeter City Supporters’ Trust, saw 606 spectators turn up at St James Park on Sunday afternoon to watch the Grecians fall to a 3-1 semi-final defeat despite a positive performance from the home side. However, despite the result, Abbie said it was a positive experience for her players and one they will remember.
“The whole day was fantastic,” she said. “I was up at the crack of dawn excited, just like the rest of the girls and probably just like the Buckland girls to be honest with you.
“It was a great occasion, we had everything covered from media, to food and drinks to programmes. I can only thank the club and the Trust for everything they have done for the ladies’ team and hopefully this is one of many more games that we can play out here.”
Speaking about the number of people who turned up to watch the match, Abbie added: “It just shows that down this way there is so much opportunity for girls and women to play football.
“I think it is advertised and it is put out there to the wider audience then we can attract numbers.
“Unfortunately, with the weather being as rubbish as it is women’s football don’t have the luxury of playing on lovely surfaces like this so our games are off quite often.
“That probably detracts people come out and supporting us because standing on the side of a park pitch is probably not as glamourous as sitting in a stand at St James Park. I can only thank everyone who came out and supported both teams.”
City went behind in the match early on when Sarah Stacey put Buckland ahead from the penalty spot, but the Grecians leveled when Abbie fired home a free-kick from 30 yards.
After that the home side had the better of the first half and Abbie was proud of her players response despite the fact that they conceded twice in the second half to miss out on a place in the final.
“I think we fell a little bit short,” she said. “We certainly felt it in our legs in and around the 75thminute mark and, I think, as the game wore on and it became a bit more open they (Buckland) did look a bit more of a threat than we did going forward.
“So, it was probably inevitable that they were going to get a chance and it is just the way it goes.
“However, the first half performance was good. We knew they would come out and try and play their game and if we pushed them back we would create chances. It is unfortunate that we gave the penalty away but we talked about that. We talked about going one or two-nil down early doors and how we would respond and the girls did just that. They responded really well.
“It was only five minutes in when we conceded and at that point there is still 85 minutes of the game left to play so anything can happen. Credit to third girls they stuck to the game plan right up until that 90thminute. We knew what we were trying to do and we executed it really well.”