There was no shortage of excitement on the opening day of Exeter City's National League season, after falling two goals behind in the opening fifteen minutes, City responded to pick up all three points against Poole Town and go second in the League Table.
The Grecian's started slowly and the Dorset side took full advantage, two similar long range efforts on goal would both loop over Kyanna Orchard and, although not controlling the balance of play, Shane Terry's side had a dream start.
Not flustered and continuing to play their possession style of football, City would start to dominate. Emily Toogood was finding space easy to come by on the right of the Poole Town defence and it was her cross that created a shooting opportunity for Abbie Britton. Unfortunately, the volleyed effort cleared the cross bar.
With the young forward line of Connie Pengelly and Esme Kilburn Thompson creating problems for the visitors, it appeared City would not have to wait long for their reward. Ella Mae Miller found space as City attacked on their right hand side and her well struck shot from distance beat Poole keeper Sam Chrippes.
Sensing a shift in momentum, the Grecians committed to attack. Connie Pengelly headed a Miller cross on to the underside of the crossbar and the rebound frustratingly fell the wrong side of the line for the hosts.
Hope Suominen then cut in from the left hand side of the penalty area only to see her well struck effort hit the upright. However, despite the near chances, on the stroke of half time City got their reward for the sustained pressure.
Abbie Britton struck a thunderous shot from the edge of the Poole Town penalty area that look destined for the top corner, the ball would hit the underside of the crossbar and, as the defenders looked to the linesman, Esme Kilburn Thompson nodded home the rebound. The turnaround complete as the teams left the field for half-time.
The City Coaching Team must have emphasised the need to start the second half better than they had done the first, the message was heeded. As had been the theme of the game, Emily Toogood surged into the penalty area from her full back position and as the initial shot was palmed away, Esme Kilburn Thompson was first to react and give City the lead.
The young forward, who was making her National League debut having moved up from the Development Team this season, was making a big impact. Connie Pengelly then had her own battle with Poole keeper Chrippes, narrowly heading over before the Dolphin's stopper made a fantastic one handed save to keep the hard working City Number Nine at bay.
Despite the Grecian's dominance, Poole were to create two golden opportunities to level the game. Phoebe Durkin blocked an attempt at goal after a deep cross was sent into the City penalty area, before Manfy Sharpe had to clear off the line after a Poole forward had beat the onrushing Kyanna Orchard to a through ball over the top of the City back line.
With the game finely balanced, it would be a strong run from the dynamic Hope Suominen that would prove decisive. Her square pass after reaching the byline was slid home by Substitute Megan Robinson. It was a goal that looked to have sealed all three points of this fantastic encounter.
Kyanna Orchard would be called to action as the game neared it's conclusion, the spirited Dorset side creating opportunities to set up an exciting last few minutes, but a save low to her left and a push around the post was enough to preserve a second half shut out. Referee Louis Coker blew the final whistle on a hot afternoon and City had sealed a memorable comeback. The coaching team will hope for more from the side in weeks to come, but the season starts with the win everyone was wanting.
Clive Watts of the Exeter City management team was happy with the victory but felt it could have been by a greater margin.
"After a disappointing start when we were very sloppy in possession and went 2- 0 down, the girls had to dig deep to recover the situation. Getting back on level terms before half time gave us the belief to go on and win the game.
"All credit to the players; they stuck to the game plan ,trusted the system and got the result our majority of possession deserved. The result would have been more comfortable but for the super display by the Poole Town goalkeeper."