Exeter City Women eased into the first round of the Women’s FA Cup with a comfortable win over Torquay United at the Exwick Sports Hub
City began in a hurry, Jenna Markham racing clear in the opening minute with her pull back for Sarah Stacey slotted past United Goalkeeper Emma Ayres for the lead.
Amber Pollock was causing the visitors problems, forcing Ayres into two low saves to prevent City doubling their lead. Ayres the prevented a Mollie Taylor header crossing the line with another stop as the Grecians pressure was relentless.
City’s midfield mix was proving productive, Beth Ireland’s latest surging run created a chance for Markham, but her effort was fired over the crossbar.
The home side’s dominance would eventually bring reward, Katie Grigg, enjoying one of her best performances, cut inside the Yellow’s defence to set up Zoe Cunningham to strike the ball firmly into the top corner past Ayres.
Five minutes later it was Stacey who set the ball on the edge of the penalty area, Cunningham firing the ball into the opposite top corner this time.
The game eased in to a quiet period, City now comfortable and the Gulls looking to get a foothold in the tie. After successfully stemming the tide for a ten minute spell, it was an error that would allow the Grecians a half time bonus. Stacey intercepting a cross field pass before deliciously chipping Ayres from twenty five yards. Four up at the break.
Ireland came close to adding her first City goal early in the half, with the United defence looking to the clear the danger from the goal one the midfielder could just not get that crucial touch to take the ball over the line.
The Gulls were certainly more competitive after the break, Bond forced into a low save from Ella Stephens as City were caught on the counter attack. However, with a steady flow of chances you always felt more Grecian Goals would come and it was Stacey who struck next.
Connie Pengelly, on as a second half substitute, clipped the perfect cross in for her strike partner and Stacey poked the ball past Ayres for five. The United defence must be sick of the Grecians forward, it was her sixth goal against the Yellows in two games this season.
A surging Pollock run led to Pengelly hitting the underside of the crossbar as City kept up the pressure. Creative play from the impressive Ireland led to another chance for Stacey, but it would be Cunningham who hit the sixth. Scrappy play on the edge of the United penalty area eventually saw the ball land for the City midfielder and she smashed past Ayres for her hat trick.
Ayres impressively denied Stacey from point blank range before Matilda Franchi hit her first senior goal with a low strike into the bottom corner just before the final whistle blew.
A perfect afternoon for Abbie Britton and Aaron Wakley’s side, with progression to the next round coming with the added bonus of rotating out Captain Manfy Sharpe, Bow Jackson, Zoe Watkins, Phoebe Baker and Ishbel Zuurmond. The City management team will have been delighted with the performances of those who came in, Ellen Dixon particularly impressive in defence.
Another bonus for Britton and Wakley will be the form of Zoe Cunningham, five goals in the last two home games for the midfielder as she begins to establish her presence on this City squad.
All eyes will be on Monday’s draw, with City surely backing themselves against any team that they are paired with, particularly if they are drawn at fortress Exwick.