Under the lights and on a cold and wet evening, Exeter City continued their winning start to the 2020/2021 League Campaign with a stunning Derby victory at Buckland Athletic.
It was the home side that started the game brighter, turning over possession in midfield and working hard to close the Grecian's down. Kyanna Orchard had to be alert to block the first shot of the game after Buckland had seized on a defensive mistake.
Yet, despite the home pressure and vocal support, it would be City who created the most clear cut opportunity. Following on from her two goal debut on Sunday, Esme Kilburn-Thompson found space in the penalty area and a defensive block saw her effort go narrowly wide when it appeared to have found the net.
Kyanna Orchard was again at her best to keep out a low drive across goal, her save forced a corner from which the hosts made their early pressure tell. A headed clearance only found the edge of the penalty area and Zoe Cunningham struck the ball into the far corner. It was a deserved lead on the balance of play.
As they did on Sunday, City responded well, the midfield of Kaptein, Baker and Britton started to win their battles and the Grecian's began to dominate. Steph Beck forced Buckland Keeper Abbi Bond into a good high save, before the hard work of Kilburn-Thompson led to Ella-Mae Miller crossing for Anthea Kaptein to cut back onto her right foot and fire the visitors level.
City were now on top and, after more high pressing, Abbie Britton struck low into the far corner to put her side ahead in the game with a fierce drive. Not contempt with simply leading the game, the visitors were now pushing forward at every opportunity and Buckland's bright start had faded.
As players competed for the ball on the edge of the penalty area, a chance fell to Kaptein and once again she made no mistake, striking low into the corner with the keeper unmoved. The Home side were adamant a foul had taken place in the build up but the referee felt otherwise as we headed to half time.
Any danger of complacency going into the second half was soon dispersed. Connie Pengelly went close on two occasions, both narrowly wide of Bond's right hand post, before she found a goal her performance deserved.
As the ball dropped from a defensive clearance she hit a dipping volley into the far left corner, it was the best goal of a night when there would be plenty of contenders for that accolade. Kyanna Orchard was then forced into two quick saves, tipping over a free kick after a foul on the edge of the City area and getting down low to a shot from the resulting corner.
Sadly the game was then subject to a lengthy stoppage. Buckland Atheltic's former Grecian Hana Bennett went down heavily under a challenge from Phoebe Baker and had to undergo treatment before awaiting the arrival of the Paramedics. We wish her well in her recovery.
After looking as though the game may be abandoned, both teams agreed to play out the remaining minutes as the clock ticked past 10pm. Megan Robinson had sealed City's victory with a goal from the bench on Sunday and she was to play the role of “Super Sub” once again.
Chasing a ball over the Buckland defence she cut back onto her favoured right foot and curled the shot past Bond for City's fifth. The arrival of the pace and energy provided by Robinson and Sasha Henderson was causing the home side all manner of problems and it was Robinson who rounded off the night when she slotted home a sixth after sprinting clear once more.
A terrific performance from City and a Derby win that they will not forget in a hurry. As supporters left the stadium after a long evening's entertainment, the words of City's Abbie Britton could clearly be heard, “you've set your own standards tonight.” It is difficult to argue with that sentiment.