Exeter City Women made it eight successive wins as they progressed into the Quarter Finals of the League Cup Plate with victory over London Seaward at the Exwick Sports Hub on Sunday afternoon.
City began with their usual high tempo, Jenna Markham stealing posession in the penalty area and cutting back to Sarah Stacey who trickled her shot just wide of the upright. The Grecians were maintaining an early territorial advantage in the game, but the visitors had arrived with a plan to hold a strong defensive line and were confidently executing the plan.
Restricting City to long range efforts, the visitors grew in confidence, Shamoy Campbell's pace the most likely route for success as she tested the Grecians backline with a cross that flashed across Abbi Bond's goal.
Stacey raced on to a through ball to test the highly impressive Tia Ginn in the Seaward goal, but the visiting Goalkeeper stood up well to block the effort as the half drifted into a midfield battle. Abbie Britton and Aaron Wakley's side had enjoyed the majority of posession but lacked their usual threat as the teams headed in to the break goaless.
Stacey recieved a perfectly weighted through ball minutes into the second half, the forward looking to slot past Ginn who once again had a perfect starting pocession to quickly nullify the effort.
The game was beginning to open up and City were finding spaces to exploit, Bow Jackson driving towards goal before trying a deft finish that Ginn claimed. Within seconds the visitors had their best chance, the Grecians defence underhitting a back pass to create a one on one opportunity, but it was Bond this time who claimed the ball at the strikers feet.
City were upping the tempo and strikes from distance from Markham and Ishbel Zuurmond were the initial outcome of this increase. Zoe Cunningham tricked her way into the penalty area from a short corner but again Seaward bodies were in the way of a more clear cut chance.
Markham's driving run and cross to Stacey looked to have broken the deadlock, the forward's volley agonisingly wide of the upright.
This City team are not only an impressive football team, they also demonstarte an impressive work rate and fitness and as the last quarter of the game arrived that would eventually prove the difference. A short corner was worked to Phoebe Baker on the edge of the penalty area and the midfielder struck the ball cleanly into the top corner past Ginn. In typical Baker style, she might not score often, but when she does it tends to be a memorable one.
Within minutes the tie was over, Jess Sandland's latest corner kick was directed to the back post and Mollie Taylor planted a header into the far corner from close range to double the lead.
Jackson, in a second half wing back role, then came close to a third, Stacey again denied by Ginn in the one on one as City pressed. Beth Ireland picked up a loose Seaward clearence and eased beyond defensive challenges before again being denied by Ginn as the game concluded with a flurry of chances.
City progress in a competition that they will have ambitions of winning, not a perfect performance from Britton and Wakley's side but one in which the visitors must be credited for in making it such an captivating cup tie. In truth, after a series of comfortable wins, this is just the type of afternoon the team needed with some big challenges ahead. Next up it is back to league action as Keynsham Town visit the Sports Hub on Sunday afternoon (2pm KO)