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Match Reports

📝 Women's Report: City 2 Derby County 4

26 February 2024

Match Reports

📝 Women's Report: City 2 Derby County 4

26 February 2024

Exeter City Women bowed out of the League Cup Plate at the Semi Final stage, Derby County the victors in an entertaining contest at the Exwick Sports Hub.

It was a cagey start to the Cup tie, Derby Goalkeeper Sarah Morgan and City’s Abbi Bond both needing to collect low crosses before the game’s first big chance arrived. Jenna Markham took advantage of some indecision between Morgan and the Rams defence to win the ball, her effort from a tight angle striking the outside of the upright. 

County responded by winning a corner and, offered with a free header, cleared the crossbar with the chance. In a competitive opening the visitors were starting to show signs of frustration, Emelia Wilsom, warned moments earlier, was sin binned for arguing with the official over a legitimate claim for a Rams penalty.

With Derby a player short, City began to find some rhythm in possession for the first time. Markham and Mollie Taylor combined for a byline crossing opportunity, the ball resting into the grateful hands of Morgan once more with Sarah Stacey ready to pounce. 

Taylor was finding joy on the City right and that channel is where the Grecians would find the opening goal, Stacey heading the ball into the path of Taylor who struck past Morgan at her near post.  

With the sin-bin period complete and County back to eleven, they struck back instantly. A deep diagonal pass over the City backline set Eleanor Ashton free and she finished with an arrowed effort into the bottom corner. 

Taylor glanced a free header into the path of Phoebe Baker in the next City attack, the midfielder unable to get the required connection on the effort to send it towards goal. And City would be left to rue their half chances as Derby proved clinical once more, City rushing the clearance to counter after defending a free kick and, after County turned over possession on the edge of the penalty area, Charlotte Steggles headed home the cross for the lead. 

Sarah Jackson then gave the referee a significant decision to make, Markham racing clear and as Morgan came off her line, the City forward was given a push to the ground by the Derby defender. Nothing given - half time and all to play for. 

If the Grecians were left frustrated with the matchday officials before the break, the feelings were intensified as the second half began.

Taylor flicked a ball onto the outstretched hand of Wilsom, but with no offence given County punished clinically once more, drilling a low cross into the near post with the ball sliding past Bond as the City defender and Derby forward competed. 

Baker’s strong run and low strike was well held by Morgan before City found a way back into the contest, substitute Amber Pollock collecting the ball on the edge of the penalty area and striking decisively into the bottom corner. 

With time on the clock, there was opportunity for City to get back on level terms, but in truth, Derby suffocated any attacking threat in the last twenty minutes with a high press and finished the tie with a goal of their own. A whipped near post corner bounced into the path of Amy Sims and she flashed a volley past Bond from close range. 

A battling performance from Abbie Britton and Aaron Wakley’s team, although on a day when they needed some added fortune against a talented Derby side it just did not fall their way.

This accomplished Grecians squad again showed their quality and ability to compete with higher level opponents, but the road to further improvement comes with this type of challenge coming every week and not so sporadically throughout a season.

For that, the season’s ultimate goal of promotion holds the key, and all eyes now turn to the run in for the title.  

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