After a frustrating couple of weeks, Exeter City Women will hope to return to action this weekend, as Keynsham Town are the visitors to Speeds Meadow for a League Cup Plate First Round tie.
Playing in the Southern Premier Division, a step above City, the Somerset side will arrive as favourites for the tie. However, with a mixed set of results in 2021, the Grecians will be eager to once again show their ability to compete against teams from a higher level.
Keynsham began their League campaign with victory over the London Bees, however a run of heavy defeats would follow. The Bees gained revenge the subsequent week, winning 5-1 in the Capital, before a narrow defeat to Cardiff City Ladies was proceeded by three heavy losses on the road. In visits to Portsmouth, Milton Keynes and Ipswich.
Barrie Newton's side would concede twenty four times, with Plymouth Argyle also hitting five past them at the AJN Stadium during this run of games. Nine goal defeats at Southampton and Bridgwater were split by a welcome victory over Chichester and Selsey, as Town sought to climb back up the Premier South League Table.
After a tough start, recent weeks have seen much happier times. A late Kerry Bartlett goal gained all three points at Hounslow, before an FA Cup victory over Portishead saw a resounding 7-3 Home win. Last time out, a vital win over Crawley Wasps eased Keynsham away from the relegation places, as they recorded three successive victories to significantly boost morale and put the K's in good form for their trip to Devon.
Henna Butcher has been amongst the goals in recent weeks, her hat trick against Portishead was followed by another goal last weekend against the Wasps. Kerry Bartlett is another significant danger for the Grecians back line on Sunday, her record whilst playing at City’s current National League One Level was astonishing, hitting 118 goals from her 66 appearances.
After the disappointment of a cancelled FA Cup tie and last weeks late postponement at Swindon, Abbie Britton and Aaron Wakley's side will be eager to get back on the pitch and continue their good form.
Three successive league victories preceded the dramatic shootout win over Plymouth Argyle at St James Park and this is a competition that City have the ability to do well in. With Keynsham this weekend, and Cardiff City Ladies next up, it will mark three successive games against teams from a higher level.
This is certainly the perfect opportunity for this squad to show their promotion credentials and to advance in two significant cup competitions in the process.