Exeter City Women have won the Premier Devon County Cup after a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over fierce rivals Plymouth Argyle.

The victory was particularly sweet for the Grecians after they suffered penalty heartbreak against Torquay United in the final last year and a thrilling end to a great final played at Devon FA headquarters in Newton Abbot.

The Pilgrims were first to pose an attacking threat, forcing City captain Manfy Sharpe into a tremendous last-ditch tackle. City responded with Mollie Taylor clipping the Argyle crossbar after seizing on a defensive lapse.

City began increasing pressure on Plymouth, with Sarah Stacey firing narrowly over. A corner from Jess Sandland then prompted panic in the Argyle pass but Exeter were unable to force the ball over the line.

A delicious pass from Jenna Markham released Stacey for a shot on goal, which was well saved by Argyle ‘keeper Jasmine Reed. The Plymouth stopper pulled off another fine block before a header from Ishbel Zuurmond struck the bar.

Exeter finally got their breakthrough early in the second period, when Zururmond linked with Stacey and her cross was headed in by Markham.

After working so hard to get their noses in front, Exeter suddenly found themselves coming under increasing pressure. Argyle were in control of territory and possession, but unable to find the potency to seriously test goalkeeper Abbi Bond.

Victory was almost within Exeter’s grasp when a cross into the box saw Amber Pollock stoop to head the ball just as former Pilgrim Bow Jackson attempted a clearance. The referee pointed to the spot and Rosie Train held her nerve to make it 1-1.

While Bond was beaten by this penalty, she made amends in the shoot-out, leaping to her left to save Argyle’s third spot-kick. Successful kicks from Zoe Watkins, Steph Beck and Sarah Stacey had set up the moment for Mollie Taylor to win it.

The City defender strode forward in confident fashion and found the net for a delighted Exeter team. Well done to both sides for a great final and advert for Devon football.