Exeter City Ladies 3 Argyle Ladies 3

IN a thrilling prelude to next month's Devon Expressway Derby, Argyle's Ladies were held to a 3-3 draw by Exeter City at Topsham Town FC.

Manager Kev Rose introduced new signings for this the second local derby of the season.

Coming into the side were defender Jemma Rose, elder sister of Becca Rose, herself retuning from injury, and winger Natasha Harding, both formerly of Super League side Bristol Academy.

Argyle began the match in positive mood, moving the ball to good effect on the uneven surface.

After only nine minutes Argyle were awarded a penalty when Becca Rose was played into the box and was promptly tripped by a defender as she bore down on goal.

She took the spot kick herself and gave Maxine Coupe in the home goal no chance.

At this point, the Greens were well on top and looked odds on to increase their lead but, alas, it was Exeter that drew next blood.

Following a miscued clearance by Argyle keeper Michaela Phillips, former Argyle striker Tash Knapman levelled from ten yards.

The game settled into a more even contest and the home side came close to increasing their tally when Lola Sanchez saw her effort from the edge of the box hit the crossbar.

In their very next attack, Argyle took the lead again when new girl Harding slotted home from a narrow angle after rounding 'keeper Coupe. 

The remainder of the half was played out in an even fashion and Argyle could be satisfied with their first half endeavours.

At the beginning of the second half, Chloe Bassett replaced Laura Perrett who was feeling unwell. 

Just two minutes into the half and the home side were level.
Again it was Knapman who beat Phillips with a crisp cross shot to the keepers right.

Three minutes later, Argyle almost went ahead when Emily Mousley outpaced the home defence on the left and struck a fine shot from 25 yards that beat the keeper but thudded against the bar and away to safety.

The Pilgrims were now going through a poor spell as Exeter were growing in confidence, and both Becca Rose and Harding were yellow carded needlessly as the teams concentration levels dropped and some players got involved in silly arguments with opposing players and the referee.

Leading scorer Mousley had a great chance to put Argyle back in front as she went through one on one with the advancing keeper, but fluffed her lines to shoot tamely into Coupe's arms.

Shortly after the home side took the lead for the first time in the game; the Argyle defence failing to clear and Sanchez powering her shot home from the edge of the box to the delight of the home crowd and her team mates.

It was now or never for Argyle and they piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser. Mousley brought a magnificent save from Coupe with a fine header from a Bassett cross from the right.

Captain Katie Middleton shook the crossbar with a 35 yard thunderbolt with just a few minutes left before Jemma Rose tried her luck from distance, shooting just over the bar.

Two minutes from time, Mousley salvaged a point for the Pilgrims as she flicked the ball over a defender's head and ran on to hit a splendid looping shot from the left, over the 'keeper's head and into the net to rescue Argyle from the jaws of defeat.