The Graddon Vending Devon Women’s Senior Cup Final
Axminster Town Ladies 0 - 1 Westexe Park Rangers Women
Played at Coach Road, Newton Abbot 29/04/2022
A single goal from Westexe’s Hollie Stone proved to be the difference between two very committed sides who provided good entertainment for the supporting crowd of some 236 on a dry but chilly evening at Coach Road, home of the Devon County FA.
Westexe kicked off but were immediately pegged back by some good attacking play from Axminster down the left, Chelse Petherbridge getting a low cross into the box that was cleared by the Westexe defence who immediately put their team on the front foot. A long ball over the top found Stone who played the ball onto Faith Aitchinston who, in turn, burst past three defenders and returned the ball to Stone but her shot, from the edge of the box, was smuggled clear by Miki Winkler at the back for Axminster.
Play immediately went to the other end where Petherbridge was tripped just outside the penalty area, the free kick hitting the side netting of the Westexe goal. Both teams were showing up well in attack but were unable to get a break-through. In the 6th minute Axminster’s Josie Stebbings pounced on a poor clearance only to fire her shot over from the edge of the box. A minute later Kitty Deem-Stone placed an inviting through ball into the Westexe box that Poppy Cloke, up front for the Axes couldn’t quite reach.
The game had opened up and chances came and went as first Madi Walker for Westexe had her shot from a corner cleared off the line by Axe’s Gemma Anderson. That was in the 13th minute and two minutes later, at the other end, Sian Aslett had a shot from the edge of the box that flew just wide of the near post. In the 20th minute Becky Holman drove in a 30 yard free kick which the Axes stopper did well to push onto the crossbar, the ball falling to Stone who was offside.
There was little to choose between the sides as both defense's held firm and few chances were created until, in the 34th minute, Aitchinson laid the ball back for Stone whose shot was kicked off the line by Stebbings.
The 1st half finished with Axminster on top. In the 42nd minute Petherbridge placed a 22 yard free kick just wide, and in the final minute of the half, Lorna Button drew a fine save from Kylie Wilkins in the Westexe goal who kicked away her 10 yard shot for a corner, which was subsequently headed over by Cloke. So, the teams went in for the break with the game scoreless.
There was little to choose between the two teams as the second half got underway. Axminster started the brightest a 50th minute free kick floated into the box by Button taken out of the air by Wilkins. Westexe seemed to be struggling to get on the front foot and all the pressure was coming from Axminster. Button placed a left foot shot wide and on the hour mark Petherbridge’s cross from the left was well taken by Wilkins, who still had only the one shot to save.
In the 65th minute, somewhat surprisingly, given the pressure they had been under, it was Westexe who took the lead. A clearance from Wilkins was picked up by Sianne Wilkinson, just on for Poppy Butt, who chipped a pass to Stone who proceeding race past two defenders before slotting home from inside the box giving Dyer no chance. One nil to Westexe and at last something to defend. They had a good chance to increase their lead in the 80th minute but Rachael Godfrey’s header from a corner went just past the post.
In the 83rd minute Stone raced down the right and had two chances find a teammate, her first cross being blocked back to her, and her return cross taken out of the air by Dyer. Axminster were getting no change out of the Westexe defence and in the 90th minute Jordon Bindon, on as a substitute, should have made the game safe, racing through the centre of the Axes defence only to be denied by Dyer.
There were 9 minutes of added time, mostly caused by a raft of substitutions near the end, and in the last minute of those Wilkins was forced to make a save from Button, who was clean through in the box
Player of the Match - Miki Winkler (Axminster Town Ladies)
Dennis Smith Devon County FA.