Argyle Ladies 1 Exeter Ladies 2
THIS local Devon derby ended with major disappointment for the Pilgrims as they went down 2-1 to Exeter City at Weston Mill.The scoreline does not tell the story of the game, however, and Exeter will have travelled back up the A38 with the points knowing they have performed the 'great escape'.
From the first whistle, it was Argyle on the offensive, attacking at will on all fronts.
Playing some neat passing football, they were in complete command. Chances came and went - probably four or five in the first fifteen minutes - but that final decisive touch could not be found.
Exeter were hanging on for dear life, defending in depth and relying on the long ball out to relieve the pressure.
But after 16 minutes, the visitors stunned their hosts when the Greens' defence was caught flat footed with a ball over the top and Kirsty Caunter ran on to plant the ball past Nicky Lipscombe to take a lead very much against the run of play.
Argyle renewed their efforts, but were unable to create a cast iron chance, and conceded another goal on 32 min.
Right-back Anna Gower misjudged a long ball downfield with the ball running to the advancing winger who put a good cross in for Lola Sanchez to convert.
Argyle continued to attack constantly but could not find the finishing touch.
Home hopes were raised just three minutes into the second half when referee Dave Harding had no hesitation in awarding Argyle a penalty.
Becca Rose was bundled over in the box and, having already converted two spot kicks this season, stepped up to take the kick.
But this time she found it third time unlucky as she shot wide of the left hand post.
Shortly after, Emily Mousley saw her header strike a post with the 'keeper beaten and it began to feel like it wasn't going to be Argyle's day.
In an effort to change their fortunes, manager Kev Rose made a double substitution just after the hour mark.
Steph Beck and Mollie Taylor replaced Rose and Rachel Javan.
Argyle finally did make the breakthrough 20 minutes from time when midfielder Ellie Dorey put over a long diagonal ball that Mousley battled hard to get to and shot across the keeper into the far corner.
Argyle continued to press for an equaliser, the neat football of the first half had given way to a more direct style as they continued to pound the Exeter defence.
In the closing minutes, Argyle were almost caught out when a hopeful looping shot bounced off the top of the bar with Nicky Lipscombe stranded off her line.
With no further additions to the score, it was a deflated group of players that left the field knowing they could and should have had this game well and truly won by halftime.
But in football, you dont always get what you deserve, and at the end of the day it was the handful of missed chances that cost them dear.