Exeter City Women produced a dominant performance to record a third consecutive league victory, hitting Torquay United for seven at the Sports Hub on Wednesday evening.
The Grecians were nearly ahead in the opening minute, Jenna Markham sprinting clear before her low cross was diverted just wide of the far post by the onrushing Sarah Stacey. City would not need to wait much longer though, Stacey racing on to an Emily Toogood pass before being brought down in the penalty area as she went to strike. Last year’s golden boot winner had yet to open her account this season, but there was never a doubt as she slotted the ball into the bottom left corner to give the Grecians the lead.
Stacey went close to doubling her and her team’s advantage, a looping header and fierce strike both testing United Goalkeeper Emma Ayres. Manfy Sharpe connected with a wide free kick, only to see her effort rebound off the foot of the post as City probed for a second goal. Markham brought the best out of Ayres as she darted into the penalty area and struck low, Ayres tipping the ball onto the foot of the opposite post this time.
The City pressure was unrelenting, and the second goal came five minutes before the break. Markham flicking a header into the path of Stacey, who held off the defender to turn and strike low into the bottom corner. Markham then added her name to the scoresheet, Toogood’s stunning pass into her path controlled and slotted in for three. A dominant half from the Grecians.
With the three points looking secure on a warm September evening, you could forgive the intensity of the City performance from slowing, but it was quite the opposite as Markham soon added a fourth. Standing up the defender, she eased beyond her and slotted past Ayres at the near post.
Sarah Stacey soon completed her hat trick, Toogood clipping a pass into the striker who saw her initial shot saved before smashing in the rebound.
Ayres denied Stacey and Toogood with two strong saves before a City corner clipped the top of the United crossbar. With Ishbel Zuurmond, Phoebe Baker and Jess Sandland controlling the tempo and the exciting wide play of Amber Pollock ceaseless, City had worn their opponents down and were looking to take advantage.
Jenna Markham, who never let the Torquay defence settle, was then handed a chance to complete her hat trick. Picking the ball up in a wide area, she drove at the United full back once more and was scythed down for another City penalty. Stacey offered her strike partner the chance from the spot and she fired into the top corner.
Markham then completed the scoring with her fourth, charging down a long ball and blocking Ayres clearance, a simple tap into the empty net to round of her night and an imperious one for the Grecians and their front two.
Abbie Britton and Aaron Wakley will be delighted with the team’s performance, City calm in possession, untroubled in defence and clinical in attack. With another League Cup fixture coming up on Sunday it will be a chance for this squad to continue to develop, with a host of talented players absent from his game, underlining the strength at Britton and Wakley’s disposal, the potential for the team this season continues to look very promising indeed.