Moneyfields held title contenders Exeter City as they made their National League debut. Former Portsmouth and Chichester City forward, Jade Widdows scored the opening goal shortly after coming on as a substitute. The visitors came back into the game thanks to a goal from new signing Rebecca Dandridge.
Victorious Festival wasn’t the only big event being held in Portsmouth. Baffins Milton Rovers FC’s home ground – a temporary home until their refurbished home ground, the John Jenkins stadium is open – was bathed in sunshine as both teams avoided festival traffic to arrive in good time.
Making their Moneyfields debut from the start were new signings Sophie Phelps (Selsey FC), Lavinia Nkomo (AFC Fylde), Tamsin de Bunsen (Portsmouth) and returning star Beth Burgess (Loughborough Lightning).
While their visitors were unchanged from their impressive 7-0 win from the opening day of the season.
It was a scrappy start from both sides with neither really managing to have any prolonged period of possession. Exeter City had the best of the early pressure with Dandridge threatening to open up the Moneyfields defence and give her side the lead.
Moneyfields began to grow into the game with Burgess and Charlie Wilson-Wilton looking dangerous on the right-hand side but failed to create a clear opening.
Both keepers were able to deal with everything that came their way quite comfortably and the first half ended all square.
The home side introduced Jade Widdows just after half time. And she made an immediate impact when she put Karl Watson’s Moneyfields ahead with an effort which deflected passed the stranded keeper.
The lead lasted ten minutes as Rebecca Dandridge pounced on a loose pass to finish passed Lauren Sayler in the Moneyfields goal.
The fiercely contested match was balanced on a knife edge and with fifteen minutes to go the home side thought that they’d gone ahead again but Phelps’ header hit the cross bar.
Neither side were able to find the winner and in truth, both sides will have come away disappointed not to have taken the win.
Both sides must now quickly turn their attentions to mid-week games, with Moneyfields travelling to unbeaten AFC Bournemouth and Exeter City hosting another newly promoted side, St Austell.
Moneyfields: Lauren Sayler, Ellie Kirby (c), Roxanne Lee-Stewart, Sophie Phelps, Emma Moody, Kimberley Whitcombe, Katie Shorter, Lavinia Nkomo, Beth Burgess, Tamsin de Bunsen, Charlie Wilson-Wilton
Substitutes: Lucy Nightingale, Kayleigh Tonks, Jade Widdows, Ellie Bloomfield, Emma Pinner
Exeter City: Abbi Bond, Bow Jackson, Emily Toogood, Jaydee Seaman, Manfy Sharpe (c), Jess Sandland, Phoebe Baker, Becky Dandridge, Sarah Stacey, Steph Beck, Zoe Watkins
Substitutes: Katie Grigg, Connie Pengelly, Emily Eaton, Ellen Dixon