Exeter City Women came from behind to claim their first point on the road, as a Rebecca Dandridge equaliser earned a 1-1 draw at newly promoted Moneyfields.
City nearly created the perfect opportunity within the first minute of the game, Sarah Stacey’s flick set Dandridge away, but as the midfielder went to strike, a well-timed touch on the ball was enough to prevent the chance on goal.
Dandridge was again involved shortly after, her free kick testing the handling of Moneys’ Goalkeeper Lauren Sayler. Phoebe Baker then tried from distance, but Sayler was again untroubled by the effort.
After the free-flowing football of the previous weekend's victory over Keynsham, it was becoming increasingly apparent that this was going to need a more attritional brand of football. The home side came close to creating a clear goalscoring opportunity on the half hour mark, a fantastic slide challenge from Jaydee Seaman preventing the chance to shoot.
Manfy Sharpe made an important near post challenge from a deep Moneys cross, before a quick switch of play from Phoebe Baker should have been rewarded with more than a cross in to the side netting. Plenty of endeavor, but not enough quality to break the deadlock before half time.
A game that needed a goal would get one shortly after the interval, after a City challenge saw the ball ricochet to a Moneys forward, the low shot was saved by Abbi Bond, the follow up effort was then deflected into the net from an unfortunate City block and the home side were in front.
If the Moneys goal was scrappy, the Grecians equaliser owed as much to good fortune. After play broke down, Dandridge’s willingness to apply pressure on Sayler was rewarded when she pounced on an under hit back pass. The City midfielder slid in and sent the ball goalward, after an agonising wait to see if the ball was going to evade the backtracking defender, the official’s flag went up and the game was level.
The equaliser led to City’s best spell, Bow Jackson was heavily involved in generating some momentum on the Grecians right and with Baker, Dandridge and Watkins now controlling possession, the tempo was far more characteristic of Abbie Britton and Aaron Wakley’s side.
Frustratingly, City could not capitalise on this good spell and, as the game drew to a close, it was Moneyfield who had the best chance to win it. Bond did well to palm away the initial corner but, as the ball dropped, the onrushing forward headed her effort onto the crossbar.
This was a point gained for the Grecians, who, you could theorise, would have lost a game like this last season. Not an afternoon for the high possession football City like to play, but a battle and gaining such a point shows a good sign for the season to come. A fantastic start to life in the National League for the newly promoted home side, City can leave Eastern Road confident that plenty of teams hoping to be in the title race this season will find the Moneys just as difficult an opposition to face.