Exeter City Women made it back to back league wins last night, they beat Portishead Town with a second half blitz to move up to sixth in the National League table.
Despite the heavy rain and strong wind, City started the game with a quick tempo. Manfy Sharpe’s back post cross was headed narrowly wide by Connie Pengelly, as the home side were moving the ball around efficiently on a slick surface. Emily Toogood’s cross nearly resulted in the opening goal; Sarah Stacey’s glancing header well kept out by Town keeper Chloe Fensome.
Whilst the Grecians were dominant in possession, the visitors were organised in defence and, in sitting deep, were not allowing City to create chances on goal in spite of their midfield creativity. With half time approaching and frustrations growing, Portishead nearly delivered a sucker punch. A counter was neatly created to gain Rose Hill a chance to run at the City defence, as she did, a mistimed tackle led to a penalty. Abbi Bond, in her first action of the half, was to come to the rescue. Alana Torrington’s penalty was hit high to Bond’s left, she palmed the ball away before Sharpe’s challenge prevented a chance on the rebound. Goalless at the break.
Abbie Britton and Aaron Wakley’s team work tirelessly on playing a certain way, neat in possession and attractive to watch, it is seeing teams set up in a defensive way against the Grecians at present and patience is key. Thankfully, the second half’s waiting game was not a long one. Charley Prouse, who again impressed with her composure, played a defence splitting pass for Pengelly, with City’s other teenage sensation striking the ball into the bottom corner for the lead.
Phoebe Baker struck a low effort just wide, before the Grecians quickly made it two. Portishead struggled to clear the ball and, as it fell to Anthea Kaptein, she turned onto her right foot and drilled a shot beyond Fensome. When City gain control of a game, they tend to maximise that moment, and two became three. Mollie Taylor, a consistent threat in her wing back role, crossed for Sarah Stacey to turn a shot towards goal, Fensome made a partial save, but Emily Toogood was in the right place to tap in.
Connie Pengelly wrapped up the three points late on, indecision in the visitor’s defence led to the ball dropping nicely on the edge of the penalty area, Pengelly’s shot was powerfully drilled into the bottom corner as the Grecians hit four.
A dominant performance that was rewarded with goals in the second half. An eighth clean sheet for the season and, with goals a plenty, City will be hoping to put January’s defeat to Maidenhead United behind them when the head to Berkshire on Sunday. With some billing the weekend’s fixture between Cheltenham and AFC Bournemouth as a title decider, quietly, City can now begin to force their way into the conversation.