Exeter City Women bounced back from their weekend defeat at AFC Bournemouth to emphatically dispatch of St Austell last night.
Abbie Britton and Aaron Wakley’s side hit twelve goals in their biggest league win of the season.
The Grecians started strongly, Bow Jackson hitting a curling shot towards the top corner before the outstretched hand of Lillywhites Goalkeeper Sara Rowe turned the ball onto the crossbar to deny City a lead within thirty seconds. Rowe denied a combination of Zoe Watkins and Chloe Gilroy a minute later, clawing on to the loose ball from an Emily Toogood corner.
Sarah Stacey shot from distance, before Watkins’ glanced header crept narrowly wide, City enjoying all the territory but, with a third of the game gone, yet to find the breakthrough.
When the opening goal did come, it was from an unlikely source. Phoebe Baker’s short corner found Jaydee Seaman and the defender shot across goal and into the far corner for her first League goal for City. One goal often brings two for this team, and a minute later the lead was doubled. Sarah Stacey was denied by the impressive Rowe once more, this time Zoe Watkins reacting quickest to poke the ball over the line.
Stacey and her strike partner Jenna Markham linked on the edge of the box to give Stacey the chance to open her account for the evening, a chip over the advancing Rowe finding the back of the net with a deft finish.
City were now rampant, Chloe Gilroy thundering in a strike from the edge of the box, Emily Toogood converting from close range after another short corner routine and Stacey thumping a shot into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area. Six goals in seventeen minutes had ended the game as a contest and given the Grecians a platform to be ruthless in the second half.
When Sarah Stacey has momentum in a game, there are no better in the division, and she helped herself to a third hat trick of the season after taking Gilroy’s flicked header into her path and slotting past Rowe.
The Grecians were peppering the St Austell box with crosses and when a home defender missed contact to clear the latest delivery, Manfy Sharpe diverted the ball into the bottom corner with the confidence of a seasoned striker. It was the Captain’s second goal of the season.
Emily Toogood’s corner was deliciously whipped in for Mollie Taylor to emphatically head home a goal on her 50th City appearance, before Sarah Stacey ended the evening with a flurry.
Taylor, moved to left full back, ran onto a lofted pass before calmly crossing for Stacey to tap home the Grecians tenth of the evening. The Taylor-Stacey partnership then linked again; this time the cross was half cleared by the St Austell defender before Stacey smashed the ball into the net.
Strong partnerships were the theme of the evening, Markham again providing for her strike partner to turn and drill home her sixth and the teams twelfth.
It was a tough evening for a young St Austell team, Goalkeeper Sara Rowe impressing to keep the scoreline down, but City were simply too good on the night. Played in heavy rain on a damp pitch, the Grecians played some attractive football throughout and will be boosted heading in to Sunday’s trip to Keynsham. Their lead at the top is extended to four points, but with Cardiff on their tales the need to be ruthless in the coming weeks will need to be as evident as it was last night.