April 2012 saw an exciting derby clash as Exeter City Ladies came face to face with Plymouth Argyle Ladies in a hotly contested Devon FA County Cup final. The Grecians fought to the bitter end but Argyle took home the spoils after a 4-3 victory. In mitigation, though, City were a division below their rivals at the time.
But that was then and this is now. After an incredible fourth promotion in five years they share the same league status with the prospect of a repeat Cup Final match one tantalising step closer. Both teams are through to the 2013 semi-finals after City beat Marine Academy Plymouth 3-2 and Argyle gave Plymstock Utd a 7-0 drubbing.
ECFC Ladies released the following match synopsis:
A stodgy first half saw both goalkeepers relatively untested. Samantha Drewery wasted Marine Academy’s best opening by clipping a right-footed strike marginally over the bar from outside the box, while Kirsty Caunter’s first-time shot fizzed marginally wide of the post. Lola Garcia Sanchez also came close before the interval by applying a delicate flick to a cross, but it trickled inches past the upright.
However the game kicked into gear after the interval. Minutes after the break, Natalie Shenton’s persistence on the right-hand touchline saw her win the ball deep into opposition territory, and her pinpoint cross was turned in by the head of Tash Knapman.
City captain Caunter re-established a lead for the Grecians after picking up a deflected shot, driving into the box, and drilling a shot which Laura Maquire could only flap a hand at in the Marine net. Moments later, Caunter’s back-to-front ball released Knapman again, and she unselfishly squared for Garcia Sanchez to tap home unchallenged for 3-1.
The scoreline could have been extended when substitute Carla Staddon cut in from the left flank to unleash a strike, but it cannoned meatily back off the inside of thepost and into open play. The wasted opportunity could have proved costly when Exeter were pegged back to within a goal with a well-struck effort from the edge of the area.
The Grecians currently sit mid-table in the South West Combination Women’s Football League with games in hand.