City ladies in cup quarter final

14:53 22 January 2013

Exeter City Ladies progressed through the quarter-final of the Devon FA County Cup with a 3-2 win against Marine Academy Plymouth on Sunday (January 20).

The cup fixture was originally due to take place a week earlier, only for the weather to end the prospect of the game taking place. Instead the match was rearranged to be played at the University of Exeter’s Topsham Sports Ground, next door to Exeter Ladies’ usual home at Topsham Town FC.

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.

The lead was short-lived though, as a loose ball in the Exeter box was hit on the swivel to wrong-foot Maxine Coupe, nestling in the far corner and tying the scores up at 1-1.

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 the post 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.

But Exeter saw out the victory to progress to the semi-final of the competition, which will be completed by 17th March. After being beaten finalists in last year’s tournaments, City will be looking to finally lift the prize this season.

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