Stoke storm in to the last eight
STOKE GABRIEL Ladies' first season in senior women's football gets better and better after reaching the quarter-finals of the Devon FA County Cup on Sunday with an emphatic 7-1 victory at home to Phoenix Club.
A giant-killing was always on the cards, of course, with Phoenix Club bottom of Division One whereas Stoke Gabriel are riding high (third) in Division Two of the Westward Developments Devon Women's League and still in the League Cup.
Nevertheless, manager Mike Calf's young side were forced to do it the hard way after falling behind to a Rachel Dart goal early on.
Rhi Bailey restored parity before Millie Lake put Stoke 2-1 in front at half-time, while Phoenix Club's frailties were further exposed in the second half as Bailey and Lake scored again to put their side in control.
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The other goals came from substitute April Chudleigh, who scored twice in the 25 minutes she was on the pitch, and Megan Taylor, who found the target with a header.
Stoke's quarter-final opponents will be South West Regional League side Marjons Old Suttonians, who beat Paignton Pilgrims 6-0 after moving the tie to a 3G (Third Generation, or all-weather to the lay person) pitch in order to get the game played.
To their huge credit, Pilgrims did Division Three of the Devon Women's League proud by holding their illustrious opponents to 1-0 at half-time. And it was only the loss of influential midfielder Louisa Stentiford-Crook through injury, that their resistance was finally broken.
Plainmoor are also through to the next round, though the Division One side were taken beyond the wire by basement Division Two outfit Brixham Villa.
Indeed, neither side had managed to break the goal-less deadlock after 120 minutes of recognised and extra time, and it needed a penalty shoot-out before Plainmoor went through 5-4, Lacey Tombs scoring the clincher.
"It was a cruel way to lose," admitted Villa manager Barry Hayward after naming midfielder Gaynor Reed as Brixham's 'Gromit' Player of the Match.
"If Plainmoor were expecting an easy ride into the quarter-finals, they were given a major shock."
Midfielders Lucy Wood, Amy Coysh and Tiff Field also came in for praise from Hayward along with goalkeeper Sarah Webster, who made a number of notable saves in front of a resilient back four of Lauren Barlow, Carly Shears, Janine Bond and Jo Reed.
Plainmoor boss Dave Jolly picked out Vicky Plant and Becky Kenshole as his side's most influential players.
The remaining five County Cup ties were postponed together with two League Cup matches and one league fixture.
Devon FA County Cup: Marjons Old Suttonians 6 Paignton Pilgrims 0, Cullompton Rangers v University of Exeter postponed, Plainmoor 0 Brixham Villa 0 (aet - Plainmoor won 5-4 on penalties), Exmouth Town v Alphington postponed, Stoke Gabriel 7 Phoenix Club 1, Exeter & Tedburn Rangers v Okehampton Argyle, Bideford v Plymouth Argyle, Exeter City v Totnes & Dartington SC all postponed.
League Cup (round 2): Activate v Tavistock, Marjons Old Suttonians Reserves, both postponed.
Division One: University of Plymouth v Axminster, postponed.